Brainwave Translation
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brainwaves

When speech recognition software arrived years ago, it was revolutionary. But now machine learning software can translate brain waves into complete sentences with an error rate of just three percent. For years, scientists tried translating brain waves into sentences through a focus on individual words but they had high error rates.

Instead, this study mimicked language translation software which works by processing the whole sentence. Brain waves could also be translated this way by using sentences instead of words (since we think in sentences.) And just like machine translation where it first encodes one language and looks for patterns, researchers here did the same.

They had people read aloud sentences while electrodes recorded their brain waves into a computer. The algorithm correlated neural activity with parts of the sentences and mouth movements. Then the algorithm translated the brain waves into language which uses context to piece the words into sentences. For now it’s able to translate just fifty sentences using two hundred different words.

It’s trainable which means the software can pre-learn before being given to a new user so that it doesn’t need to be tailored to the individual. The technology is far from ready, yet it’ll be a game changer for those who can no longer speak. We can also see it transforming our society: Could rogue detectives use this on suspects? How about extreme helicopter parents. Hmm… an ethical can of worms for sure.

For more information…

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