Is this a record for extrapolation?

Images read from human brain

said about 100 million images can be read, adding that dreams as well as mental images are likely to be visualized in the future in the same manner.

In the recent experiment, the research group asked two people to look at 440 different still images one by one on a 100-pixel screen. Each of the images comprised random gray sections and flashing sections.

The research group measured subtle differences in brain activity patterns in the visual cortexes of the two people with a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. They then subdivided the images and recorded the subjects’ recognition patterns.

The research group later measured the visual cortexes of the two people who were looking at the word “neuron” and five geometric figures such as a square and a cross. Based on the stored brain patterns, the research group analyzed the brain activities and reconstructed the images of Roman letters and other figures, succeeding in recreating optically received images.

OK, so from data gathered with a 400-item training set, they manage to recognize (not reconstruct) data for half a dozen items. And then they claim that ultimately they will be able to recreate more than 100 million images (which would take what? a 10-billion-image training set?). Heck, we don’t even know if the patterns they observed are stable over time…

That is to say, with enough training data and FMRI time and resolution almost anything is possible, but not necessarily in a useful way…

It reminds me of a couple things: a face-recognition system that could penetrate disguises, it just needed a bunch of high-quality undisguised images of the target (which, if you were in a position to get them, wouldn’t be needed in the first place). And a “speech-recognition” demo from back in the 80s, where every one of the samples being recognized just happened to have a different number of syllables.


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