We live in a society that is obsessed with oversharing. While it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tune out the trivial bits of people’s lives that we don’t care about, we can still choose not to sign up for social media accounts to preserve our own privacy. We can also take comfort from the idea that our private thoughts will always remain our own – at least for the time being. You might want to enjoy that last bit of privacy while you still can because a creepy new AI looks set to change that very soon.
Japanese researchers have now developed an AI machine that can take a look into your mind with an uncanny degree of accuracy. It studies the electrical signals within your brain to determine the images you are looking at or even just thinking about, and then it can create images of it that are startlingly reliable.
The project is being carried out at Kyoto University under the leadership of Professor Yukiyasu Kamitani. The researchers are creating the images using a neural network and information culled from fMRI scans that detect the changes in people’s blood flow in order to analyze electrical activity. This data enabled their machine to reconstruct images such as red mailboxes, stained glass windows, and owls after volunteers stared at pictures of these items. In addition, it was able to create pictures of objects the participants were simply imagining, including goldfish, bowling balls, leopards, crosses, squares and swans with varying degrees of accuracy.
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