Friday, September 23, 2011

It's All in the Mind, Y'know!

OK, so here's your bizarre for the day:

Scientists have been able to reconstruct thoughts into images. There is a full article explaining it in technical detail here. To sum up: researchers had subjects watch clips from film trailers while recording blood flow to their visual cortexes with an fMRI. They then used 18 million random seconds of youtube clips to reconstruct what the viewers were seeing:

(on the left are the trailers, on the right are brain images reconstructed with clips from youtube.)

Now this is fascinating, but also frightening. What people think and feel are private unless they feel like sharing them. But I think it would be a wonderful self analysis tool. I log my dreams, and I'm annoyed as hell when the alarm clock shreds all memory of them.

Unfortunately, the way all information today is head-rushing towards the arms of Big Brother, this is how I'm sure the technology will be handled: A requirement will be that your dreams and thoughts will be part of the online "cloud" Of course, your identity will be "random" and your "privacy will be respected." After a year, the makers of the dream-recorder will change their TOS that they can sell your information to 3rd parties - and by low the government can have access... randomly and privately, of course.

All pontificating aside, NOW the plot sickens. Apparently, we can also do this with cats:

The real freaky thing is at the end, they zoom in the still of the man's face - and in the cat's mind, it's a cat-person.

I know we're higher mammals and all, but I think cat's can discern from cats and other prey - for example, I don't think they see mice, birds and bugs as small cats, or they wouldn't eat them (would they?) So.... is it then possible that we see higher life forms as people?



1 comment:

Aravis said...

I saw this used as a diagnostic tool on an episode of House last season. I thought it was really cool, but you're right... it could also be a terrifying one in the right hands.

Or paws.