Technological Mind Readers
Want to know what your friend is thinking? Well, unless he is already getting an MRI, you’ll pretty much out of luck. However, scientist has discovered a way to use MRI technology to extrapolate about what a person is thinking.
The study was led by Jack Gallant, neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and published on March in the journal Nature. The technique involves brain scanning using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which monitors blood flow patterns within the brain and associates them with images shown to the subjects.
It’s not the best of this method so far, but it’s a step forward towards understanding and predicting brain activity. The experiment submitted two of Gallant’s team members, Kendrick Kay and Thomas Naselaris, to a series of 1,750 different pictures. Afterwards, the team of scientists selected 120 pictures the two hadn’t seen before and tried to predict which one they will be looking at by using brain scanning.
The predictions proved accurate in 72 percent of the time with one of the subjects, and 92 percent for the other subject. It’s a new accomplishment in accurately decoding brain activity, but scientists are just at the beginning of the road. The challenge ahead now is to decode brain responses from a whole new range of images, without knowing them first however.
Pretty soon people are going to think MRI stands for “Mind Reading Interface” and not “Magnetic Resonance Imaging.”