Scientists users ChatGPT-like tech to read human brain and translate thoughts in real-time

Scientists can now use artificial intelligence (AI) to read human brain waves and translate them into text. According to a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, AI models powering Open AI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard can read a person’s mind and reproduce the brain activity in a stream of text.

The study was led by Jerry Tang, a doctoral student in computer science, and Alex Huth, an assistant professor of neuroscience and computer science at UT Austin.

As part of the study, three people were asked to listen to stories. The subjects were then assigned to MRI machines. Scientists claim that they were able to produce the text of the participants’ thoughts without the help of any brain implant. 

The study findings demonstrate the viability of non-invasive language brain–computer interfaces. “These kinds of systems could be especially helpful to people who are unable to physically speak, such as those who have had a stroke, and enable them to communicate more effectively,” the study says.

The semantic decoder, at the moment, can only provide the basic “gist” of what someone is thinking. Also, the AI decoder produced a text that closely matched a subject’s thought only about half of the time.

Giving an example of the decoder in action, the study demonstrated how a test subject heard, and consequently thought the sentence “… I didn’t know whether to scream cry or run away instead I said leave me alone I don’t need your help Adam disappeared.”

The decoder reproduced this part of a sentence as “… started to scream and cry and then she just said I told you to leave me alone you can’t hurt me anymore I’m sorry and then he stormed off.” 

“For a noninvasive method, this is a real leap forward compared to what’s been done before, which is typically single words or short sentences. We’re getting the model to decode continuous language for extended periods of time with complicated ideas,” Professor Huth says in the report published on UT Texas website.

The researchers also express their concerns about the mental privacy. “We take very seriously the concerns that it could be used for bad purposes and have worked to avoid that,” said Jerry Tang. “We want to make sure people only use these types of technologies when they want to and that it helps them.”

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