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XVII. Video Scenes Pulled From Peoples’ Thoughts

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Dr. Jack Gallant of the UCB psychology department claims that it’s possible to reproduce video images from human brain activity.  Basically this means that it’s possible to extract brain memories or images onto youtube.  Dr. Gallant and his colleague Shinji Nishimoto have used fMRI to scan the brains of two videos as they watched videos. According to Times Online, “A computer program was used to search for links between the configuration of shapes, colors, and movements in the videos, and patterns of activity in the patients’ visual cortex.”  The computer program then was fed 200 days’ worth of YouTube internet clips and asked to predict which areas of the brain the clips would stimulate.  The software then monitored the two patients’ brains as they watched a film and reproduced what they were seeing based on their neural activity.  Even though the computer was able to identify the video clip, some of the details were lost. Gallant then explains that “some scenes decode better than others.”  For example, Gallant points out that they can decode talking heads really well but a camera pan across a scene confuses the computer’s algorithm. This idea has been entertained before, however; it’s been mentioned in sci-fi movies such as The Final Cut where a special implant makes it possible to record the internal images that a person sees and remembers. Another example is the sci-fi series Farscape which entertained the notion of peeling back the layers of a mind one by one and exposing the memories on a screen. 

This article eerily relates to the last entry I blogged about and my feelings still haven’t changed by much. Even though I believe that this advance in technology could help us, I believe that it’s more harmful than helpful especially when it’s in the wrong hands. For example:

The Pros:

Can help solve crime/murder mysteries

Good for people with Alzheimers

Just help you remember and share information in general

The Cons:

Identity theft/hacking

Invasion of privacy

Even though there are more pros than cons, the cons outweigh the positivity of the pros in terms of quality and severity. I just don’t understand why the world wants to put brain chips in our head or monitor the images we see. Advancement in technology is always an exciting thing but I have a strong belief that people are going to abuse the power given to them and use it for personal, selfish reasons in comparison to using it for “good”. I guess I’m just cautious of these new devices and people’s motives.

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Written by minjikwon

December 9, 2009 at 1:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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