What seemed pure science fiction just 5 years ago is now becoming a matter of perfecting technology to make it better: seeing what you are seeing by looking at your brain activity.
Researchers at Purdue University have demonstrated “mind reading” decoding technology. Three volunteers’ brains were monitored using fMRI -functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging- as they were shown over 900 video clips for a total of 11.5 hours. The resulting data were analysed by a program that was able to extract the “images” seen by the volunteers (look at the video). The program used Convolutional Neural Networks, CNN, and was able to identify scenes, persons and faces. These “recognitions” were used to recreate the images that were seen.
Obviously what has been recreated is pretty different from what was actually seen, in terms of definition but it was still possible to match the various scenes, like observing two persons moving, identifying a face and so on.
Now, this is an amazing results. It proves that it is possible to “read the mind”. It doesn’t matter that it requires a gigantic sensor (the fMRI machine) nor that the reading in sketchy. From now on the goal is to make it better, just yesterday we were wondering is such a thing would ever be possible. No more. we know that it is possible.