by Dennis Crouch
The pace of technological advancement never ceases to amaze me, and it seems like even science fiction is struggling to keep up with reality. In recent months, we’ve witnessed some truly remarkable breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), and this latest development is right up there.
Researchers have used GPT-style machine learning architecture to decode human thoughts by analyzing their functional MRI (fMRI) brain scans. That’s right – we’re talking mind reading. The AI was initially trained trained by exposing participants to 16 hours of narrative stories while recording their brain activity. And, once trained, the AI was able to accurately describe the content of their thoughts. Of some interest, the AI was better at identifying concepts and meaning rather than the actual words at issue.
While this technology has the potential to revolutionize communication for individuals with disabilities or neurological conditions, it also raises some privacy concerns that could involve both reading thoughts and writing them.
I imagine that all this wouldn’t require a fMRI technology and instead could rely upon much smaller safe-for-home equipment such as Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) devices shown in the image above or made by Artinis.
A key for me here is that this is potentially moving toward an API for the human mind and body. For those outside the software world, an API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of protocols, tools, and standards that allow different computer applications to communicate with each other. APIs provide a standardized way for software components to interact. An API for the human mind and body would create an interface that allows software systems to access and interact with the brain or and other body parts. Over the past several years, folks have been making huge advances with brain/body connection, and I’m excited about where we are headed in this expanded mind approach.