Exploring new approaches to machine hosted
neural-network simulation, and the science
A programmer who is obsessed with giving experimenters
a better environment for developing biologically-guided
neural network designs. Author of
an introductory book on the subject titled:
"Netlab Loligo: New Approaches to Neural Network
Simulation". BOOK REVIEWERS ARE NEEDED!
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Scientists at UC Berkeley have taken brain scans of subjects in an fMRI machine while they watched a movie clip. They then reconstructed the movie the subjects were watching using only the brain scan data, and a database of 18 million seconds of random video gleaned from the web.
First, they used fMRI imaging to measure brain activity in visual cortex as a person looked at several hours of movies. They then used those data to develop computational models that could predict the pattern of brain activity that would be elicited by any arbitrary movies (i.e., movies that were not in the initial set). Next, they used fMRI to measure brain activity elicited by a second set of movies that were also distinct from the first set. Finally, they used the computational models to process the elicited brain activity, and reconstruct the movies in the second set.
The amount of new understanding this could allow us to gather about mind-brain correlates and first person knowledge should be considerable. If this lives up to the hype, a lot of new research ideas should come out of it. Keeping fingers crossed here.
In the above clip - the movie that each subject viewed while in the fMRI is shown in the upper left position. Reconstructions for three subjects are shown in the three rows at bottom. All these reconstructions were obtained using only each subject's brain activity and a library of 18 million seconds of random YouTube video that did not include the movies used as stimuli. The reconstruction at far left is the Average High Posterior (AHP). The reconstruction in the second column is the Maximum a Posteriori (MAP). The other columns represent less likely reconstructions. The AHP is obtained by simply averaging over the 100 most likely movies in the reconstruction library. These reconstructions show that the process is very consistent, though the quality of the reconstructions does depend somewhat on the quality of brain activity data recorded from each subject. [source: Gallant Lab (see resources below)]
Here's another clip, which contains a nice overview of the experiment results.
Sources & Resources
(More resources will be added here as they are gathered)