Monday, 2 November 2009

I eat 200 days’ worth of YouTube internet clips for breakfast




"In an experiment which has yet to be peer reviewed, Gallant and Nishimoto, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology, scanned the brains of two patients as they watched videos.
A computer programme was used to search for links between the configuration of shapes, colours and movements in the videos, and patterns of activity in the patients’ visual cortex.
It was later fed more than 200 days’ worth of YouTube internet clips and asked to predict which areas of the brain the clips would stimulate if people were watching them.
Finally, the software was used to monitor the two patients’ brains as they watched a new film and to reproduce what they were seeing based on their neural activity alone.
Remarkably, the computer programme was able to display continuous footage of the films they were watching — albeit with blurred images.
In one scene which featured the actor Steve Martin wearing a white shirt, the software recreated his rough shape and white torso but missed other details, such as his facial features."



by Chris Gourlay
The Sunday Times, Nov. 1, 2009

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