Scientists read the visual content of a human mind with 92 percent accuracy. Method: 1) Two people were shown 1,750 pictures. 2) Brain scans showed the blood-flow patterns triggered in each person by each picture. 3) From the scans, scientists computed which pattern reflected which type of image. 4) The same people were shown 120 new pictures while being scanned.Results: The computer correctly predicted which new image was being viewed 92 percent of the time for one person, and 72 percent for the other. The probability of a correct prediction by guessing was less than 1 percent. When the number of new images increased from 120 to 1,000, the computer still got it right 82 percent of the time.
What’s new: Previous mind-reading used pictures the subjects had already seen; in this study, the pictures were new.
What’s next: 1) Quadriplegics issuing commands to computers via brain scan. 2) Watching or analyzing another person’s dreams. 3) “A general brain-reading device that could reconstruct a picture of a person’s visual experience at any moment.”
Related: Human Nature’s take on the recently demonstrated ability to predict a person’s intentions.
Hark! The Singularity Is Near!
(Guess we’re living in an age of spiritual machines…)