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Goodbye privacy: AI’s next terrifying advancement is reading your mind

The world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is continually evolving, and it seems like it’s moving towards a rather frightening advancement – the ability to read minds. Scientists at the University of Texas Austin have successfully created an AI system that can translate a person’s brain activity into plain and readable language. This device, known as a semantic decoder, utilizes similar technology implemented by ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, and the best part is that it doesn’t require any surgery or special implant.

The breakthrough uses an fMRI scanner in tandem with the decoder to transcribe a person’s thoughts after a cumbersome process. A test subject is instructed to listen to hours of podcasts while inside the scanner before having their own “thoughts decoded” by either telling a story in their heads or imagining a story. They are also shown in silent video clips. This is what “allows the machine to generate corresponding text from brain activity alone.”

Although the researchers intend on the technology being used for mentally conscious individuals who can’t speak, such as stroke victims, they are well aware of the possible consequences if the AI falls into the wrong hands. The researchers take the potential misuse of the decoder seriously, but they are optimistic that regulations can be put in place to protect people’s privacy.

Currently, AI can’t develop a word-for-word translation. Still, the researchers designed it to capture the gist of what is being said or thought, albeit imperfectly. Nearly half of the time, the text is near or spot on to a person’s thoughts. For example, a participant listening to a speaker says, “I don’t have my driver’s license yet,” had their thoughts translated as “She has not even started to learn to drive yet.”

However, nefarious uses of the decoder are extremely limited at the moment, as a person needs to spend up to 15 hours lying in an MRI scanner, being perfectly still, and paying good attention to stories they’re listening to before the AI can work well on them. Additionally, the research team shared ways that test subjects were able to “easily and completely thwart” the decoding – thinking of animals was a major block.

Technology is still in its early stages, and it’s important to be proactive by enacting policies that protect people and their privacy. It’s essential to regulate what these devices can be used for, and the researchers are optimistic that such regulations can be put in place.

The potential for AI to read our minds raises many concerns about privacy and how information can be used. The researchers acknowledge that the technology’s potential for misuse is great, and they are actively working to prevent that from happening. However, it remains to be seen how effective regulations will be in protecting people’s privacy and preventing misuse of this technology.

By: Mr. WWK

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