I couple of weeks ago I read a great article on RichardDawkins.net which I forgot to post on my blog, so here it is.
It sounds like science fiction: While volunteers watched movie clips, a scanner watched their brains. And from their brain activity, a computer made rough reconstructions of what they viewed.
Scientists reported that result Thursday and speculated such an approach might be able to reveal dreams and hallucinations someday.
In the future, it might help stroke victims or others who have no other way to communicate, said Jack Gallant, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the paper.
He believes such a technique could eventually reconstruct a dream or other made-up mental movie well enough to be recognizable. But the experiment dealt with scenes being viewed through the eyes at the time of scanning, and it’s not clear how much of the approach would apply to scenes generated by the brain instead, he said.
People shouldn’t be worried about others secretly eavesdropping on their thoughts in the near future, since the technique requires a person to spend long periods in an MRI machine, he noted.
Another expert said he expected any mind-reading capability would appear only far in the future.
For now, the reconstructed movie clips are only crude representations, loosely mimicking shapes and movement, but not nearly detailed enough to show that a blurry human-like figure represents the actor Steve Martin, for example.