Is it possible to read minds? Psychics claim to have the ability. It seems like advertisers are doing it online already, doesn’t it? Now, neurotechnology and AI can translate brain waves into complex pictures, sound, and speech. So far, this kind of “mind reading” requires a patient’s consent, but will that always be so?
Brain Waves into Words
Recently, UT Austin researchers created a 3D model of study participants’ minds. Using the model, AI could decode the brain waves of people and produce text from it. Such text could describe complex thoughts as a person reacted to what they were observing.
Regions of the brain light up, indicating where there is higher activity. Astonishingly, AI could analyze this complex activity and produce specific words describing the person’s inner dialogue. That’s right – turning waves into words, which is profound!
This neurotechnology is intended to help people suffering from severe neurological damage. But if unethical persons used the technology, you can imagine the potential results. Mind reading whoever they please for whatever purpose. Such an idea has long been the subject of science fiction and common in the stories of UFOs and ETs. As if overnight, it’s becoming very real.
Mind Reading Tech in Everyday Life?
According to Nita Farahany, author of “The Battle for Your Brain: Defending the Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology,” no electrodes are attached to the person whose mind is being read. (see video below) The person goes into an MRI machine without invasive electrodes attached to their skull. However, Farahany suggests smaller portable wearable devices could one day achieve the same result at home, in businesses, or anywhere.
“In other words…mind reading may be possible using devices that we may come to use in our everyday lives,” said Farahany.
One day, corporations could be able to literally read the minds of consumers, as if they don’t have enough data already. Considering the rapid leap into widespread AI despite grave concerns by experts, what would stop it from happening?
Video by NBC News about the study:
Reading Minds to Speak Thoughts Aloud
Another group of researchers from New York University have recently discovered how to reconstruct speech after analyzing brain activity. This time, they used attached electrodes to the volunteers.
For patients who have lost their voices, they could get it back. And the sound of the voice would match how they sounded before. However, the voice could also be trained to match another person’s voice. So, who do you want to sound like?
“…The result may be that patients do not get a voice back after losing it — they will get their voice back. This is thanks to a deep neural network that takes into account a latent auditory space, and can be trained on just a few samples of an individual voice, like a YouTube video or Zoom recording,” reported NYU.
Although this study used attached electrodes, other researchers have used non-invasive means to decode speech activity from brain waves. Again, it points to the potential for such neurotechnology in all sorts of devices.
Images and Music from Brain Waves
Reading minds with AI and neurotechnology can also produce images or even music. Neuroscientists from the University of California, Berkeley, analyzed epilepsy patient’s brain waves during surgery, and the result was a crude match of the Pink Floyd song they were listening to. It’s more than a little ironic the song lyrics to Another Brick in the Wall include “We don’t need no thought control.”
While the translated music was pretty crude, it’s like the first primitive video games. Over time, such tech could vastly improve, creating impressive musical scores from brain waves! It’s like physicists and spiritual leaders have been saying, the universe is one of cosmic music. It doesn’t seem like such an abstract or philosophical concept anymore, does it?
Video by Neuroscience News about the study:
Mind Reading to Produce Movies?
Lastly, neuroscientists from Osaka University reconstructed high-resolution images by interpreting brain waves with common AI diffusion models. Patients looked at images while their brains were scanned, and the result was a surprisingly close match. Previous studies translated what a mouse was looking at into a reconstructed movie clip.
What will happen when they translate the brain waves of a person at the time of death? Or a person who is dreaming? How about a person under hypnosis? What kind of movies would we see?
All these rapid advances could mean mind reading technologies could be commonplace. As with AI in general, the experts are waving cautionary warning flags. But if we could read the minds of profits-driven corporations, what do you suppose they would choose to do? Do we need to read their minds to guess?
Video by New Scientist about the mouse: