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January 14, 2009

A Reality Check on Computerized Mind Reading

Posted in: brainwaves,dreaming,scientific

There was a big splash last month in the dreaming community, the source was a research breakthrough made by Japanese scientists. The breakthrough? Successfully reconstructing images being viewed from the eyes, using only brain activity. This has enormous implications, which have been fairly well speculated on since the breakthrough. The main conclusion from the discovery was that one day, it might be possible to actually record dreams. From Pink Tentacle:

According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while they sleep.

Well alright then, throw out the dream journal and the melatonin! Excepting of course, that the development time is an estimated 10 years.The current state is a rather crude, black and white low resolution image. Another rather inhibiting factor that everybody forgets when speculating about the amazing applications of this process is that you need a MRI scanning machine to do it.

Another assumption being made about recording dreams is that they result in the same brain activity that alert, awake people experience. Whether this is true or not I am unsure, as certain parts of the brain are definitely less active during dream states then they are during awake states. Without knowing exactly which parts of the brain the scientists were using for data, it’s difficult to call this assumption true or false. It is however, important to state in the first place.

This article isn’t supposed to lower everybody’s excitement about this breakthrough. It could be the most revolutionary dreaming discoveries in the modern era, leading to all sorts of new applications to old ideas like dream analysis, learning, etc. However, sometimes it’s good to remember the “catches” involved in all this. Excitement has its place, but the likelihood of actually seeing this technology in the applications everybody is hoping for is slim., at least for a while. So flip to the next page on your dream journal, it isn’t going anywhere for a while.

-Hatter

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