Researchers from NUS develop AI to ‘read’ people’s minds through brain scans

SINGAPORE: Singapore researchers are working on a project to develop a mind-reading Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. At the National University of Singapore, dozens of people are participating in a program where their brains are scanned in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine.

The machine scans their brains while they look at between 1,200 and 5,000 images, Reuters reported earlier this week. And then MinD-Vis, the “mind-reading” AI, associates the scans with the images, with an individual AI model created for each participant. This allows a computer to “read” a person’s thoughts.

“So after we collect enough training data… we can create an individual AI model… and this AI model is kind of a translator. It can understand your brain activities just like ChatGPT understands the natural languages of humans,” Jiaxin Qing, one of the lead researchers, says.

And when the person comes in for another brain scan, that’s when the “mind reading” occurs.

“In the scan, you will see the visual stimuli like this. And then we’ll record your brain activities at the same time. And your brain activities will go into our AI translator and this translator will translate your brain activities into a special language that a Stable Diffusion can understand, and then it will generate the images you are seeing at that point. So that’s basically how we can read your mind in this sense,” he added.

As the technology works on an individual level, this means it can’t be used on just anyone.

Additionally, as with many other technologies, the privacy of the data given to the researchers is a concern.

“So the thing to address this is we should have very strict guidelines, ethical and law in terms of how to protect the privacy,” Reuters quotes Juan Helen Zhou, Associate Professor at NUS Medicine, as saying.

But the technology is promising, as another of the lead researchers, Chen Zijiao, explains.

“Say for some patients without motor ability, maybe we can help him to control their robots (artificial limbs), and their phone, like communicate with, communicate with others like just using their thoughts instead of speech if that person couldn’t speak at that time.” /TISG

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