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Science & Technology

AI can turn human thoughts into written word

By T.K. Randall
April 2, 2020 · Comment icon 16 comments

What if your thoughts could be directly converted to text ? Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Mason
A remarkable new AI system has been designed that can read what someone is thinking and turn it into text.
Despite sounding like something out of a science-fiction movie, brain-computer interfaces capable of reading and interpreting someone's thoughts are fast becoming the real deal.

One of the most difficult aspects of reading what someone is thinking is understanding how specific thoughts are represented by different patterns of brain activity. These patterns are not the same for everyone - how we think about any given concept depends on our own experiences and memories.

In a new study at the University of California San Francisco, however, scientists have demonstrated that turning brain signals directly into text is actually possible.

Four epilepsy patients with brain implants designed to monitor seizures were asked to read and repeat a series of short sentences while their brain activity was recorded and analyzed by a computer.
The data was then processed by a neural network that could identify patterns corresponding to certain speech signatures, such as those associated with certain sounds or mouth movements.

A second neural network then decoded this information to predict what each person was thinking.

Incredibly, the experiment was able to turn brain signals into written word with a word error rate of as little as three percent - an accuracy rate never achieved before.

While there is obviously still a long way to go until a system like this can interpret everything someone is thinking, it's an impressive step towards a brain-computer communications solution that could one day make it possible for severely physically limited individuals to make their voices heard.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (16)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by spartan max2 4 years ago
I try to look at the positives of technology just because I know tech progress isn't going to stop.
Comment icon #8 Posted by _Only 4 years ago
Bad. Our minds are the last thing truly to ourselves. Well, were.
Comment icon #9 Posted by pokingjoker 4 years ago
Maybe i can finally know what my dog, cat, and significant other is thinking when asked where she wants to eat.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
ATM, it sounds like something that can't be used without consent and a lot of prep work. Which is good. If this can help people who've lost the ability to speak, sign, or write, wonderful. Honestly, I don't see this going into "thought-stealing" territory...At least not for a long while.
Comment icon #11 Posted by SpaceBumZaphod 4 years ago
I can see wonderful uses for this for people who are non verbal. YET, I can also see a Totalitarian government using this as an evil tool. Everyone has thought at one tine or another: I'm going to kill that *******. They could arrest you for a thought crime. Two sides of the coin I guess.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Shane56 4 years ago
This is very disturbing. What goes on in your mind, your heart of hearts , personal thoughts, flow of consciousness  (ie. your brain) is the  last and final vestige of privacy.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year 4 years ago
1984 was never intended to be an instruction manual.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Aten 4 years ago
Guys/Girls this is surely (Shirley) an April fools day article, get a grip :-))  
Comment icon #15 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
It's dated 30th March.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Poncho_Peanatus 4 years ago
I think with this technology, once perfected,it may help paralized people in having a communication line with the outside world.

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