Technology to Read Minds?

I thought people might be interested in this:

Scientists Reconstruct Brains’ Visions Into Digital Video In Historic Experiment:

UC Berkeley scientists have developed a system to capture visual activity in human brains and reconstruct it as digital video clips. Eventually, this process will allow you to record and reconstruct your own dreams on a computer screen.

It’s amazing:

This video is organized as follows: the movie that each subject viewed while in the magnet is shown at upper left. Reconstructions for three subjects are shown in the three rows at bottom. All these reconstructions were obtained using only each subject's brain activity and a library of 18 million seconds of random YouTube video that did not include the movies used as stimuli. (In brief, the algorithm processes each of the 18 million clips through the brain model, and identifies the clips that would have produced brain activity as similar to the measured activity as possible. The clips used to fit the model, the clips used to test the model and the clips used to reconstruct the stimulus were entirely separate.) The reconstruction at far left is the Average High Posterior (AHP). The reconstruction in the second column is the Maximum a Posteriori (MAP). The other columns represent less likely reconstructions. The AHP is obtained by simply averaging over the 100 most likely movies in the reconstruction library. These reconstructions show that the process is very consistent, though the quality of the reconstructions does depend somewhat on the quality of brain activity data recorded from each subject. You can find more information about this work at our laboratory web site:

With this technology we may be some day able to record our memory palaces and post them to the Internet. Teacher’s could show their student’s their memory palaces.
And there could be so-called wiki-palaces where everyone could add/change their visions about the topic.

Artists wouldn’t have to paint what they see, they just visualize it.

More mind reading technology from UC Berkeley:

Scientists have used brain scanners to detect and reconstruct the faces that people are thinking of, according to a a study accepted for publication this month in the journal NeuroImage.

In the study, scientists hooked participants up to an fMRI brain scanner – which determines activity in different parts of the brain by measuring blood flow – and showed them images of faces. Then, using only the brain scans, the scientists were able to create images of the faces the people were looking at.

Great technology ! I wonder if they could see numbers or other shapes inside mind-sport athletes, chess players or memorizers.

Mind communicating rats

The researchers implanted pairs of rats with arrays of microelectrodes, devices a fraction of the width of a human hair, that lie directly on the surface of the brain. For each pair, one rat was dubbed the encoder; the other, the decoder. In a series of trials, the encoder rat was trained to perform a task in exchange for a sip of water, and the electrode array recorded its brain activity. Then that recorded activity was transmitted to the decoder rat’s brain, stimulating the electrodes in its brain in precisely the same pattern. By using its partner’s pattern, the decoder rat was able to make better decisions than it could on its own.
And learning went in both directions. The scientists designed the experiment so that when the decoder rat successfully performed its task, the encoder rat would receive an additional reward. Very quickly, the encoder rat learned to modify its brain activity, creating a smoother, stronger signal for its partner to read. The longer the two rats worked together, the more they altered their behavior to form a working team.


Right now, they’ve only linked two rats, but the researchers are working on building connections between groups of rats to see if they can collaborate on more complex tasks.

“We cannot even predict what kinds of emergent properties would appear when animals begin interacting as part of a brain-net,” Nicolelis said. “In theory, you could imagine that a combination of brains could provide solutions that individual brains cannot achieve by themselves.”

Rat cyborgs:

Modern prosthetics even extend to the brain itself—a recent invention by Dr. Theodore Berger could allow one brain region to be replaced by a computer chip. In his study, Berger removed the hippocampus from rats, the brain region that allows all mammals to form new memories. Without a hippocampus, a rat cannot learn to run a maze.

In its place, he installed a chip that modeled the behavior of the hippocampus. Using the chip, the rat was able to learn to run the maze just fine; remove the chip, and the learning is gone. Whether another rat could then run the maze using the same chip remains untested, but Nicolelis’s research suggests it might be possible.

That is very interesting r30. Reminds me of using metal plates inside a humans brain to add a sense(ie; make blind people ‘see’ again, or give soldiers 360 degree vision). This can also be accomplished on others places, with electrodes on the tongue or on the back. It takes a while to get used to it, but the brain doesn’t discriminate between data from the electrodes and normal sense organs. As Morpheus said; “What is real? How do you de-fine real? If you’re talking about what you can smell, hear, taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain”.


Edit: Links:

Amazing research…

More mind-reading technology: Computer reads brain activity to find out the music each person is listening to

It may sound like sci-fi, but mind reading equipment are much closer to become a reality than most people can imagine. Researchers used a magnetic resonance machine to read participants' minds and find out what song they were listening to. The study contributes to improve the technique and pave the way to new research on reconstruction of auditory imagination, inner speech and to enhance brain-computer interfaces for communication with locked-in syndrome patients.

Yes. Imagine to what wonderful uses despots and dictators could find to do with more advanced versions of these technologies. Perhaps all governments will find a siren call in more advanced tersions of these technologies for control of the populace or dissidents.

As Viktor Frankl mused, that they can take everything from a man except his free will. Perhaps loosing that isn’t far behind using these and similar technologies for coercion. I will ignore the debate of how much free will we actually have for the purposes of this post.

They may be great technologies, but as surely as they are developed, they will just as surely be misused. I think these technologies should give us pause, as opposed to unbridled joy in their acceptance.

Everything is possible in this universe. Everything.

All that is missing is the knowledge how to do it. But we have always been improving so its just a matter of time…

Not to quibble, but I don’t think everything is possible. For example, creating a circular square.

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