According to ReadWrite, artificial intelligence (AI) is on its way to reading, recreating, and predicting human dreams.
Thanks to the work done at the Gallant Lab in the University of California, researchers have developed an algorithm that “can process brain activity to form a recognizable image.” This algorithm was used in a study where researchers had participants watch movie trailers, and asked those participants to actively think about what they were watching. From there, researchers were able to recreate vague images of the trailers being watched using brain imagery.
These processes might be used on dreams one day: “If the same technology is applied to dreams, it could enable us to witness visuals associated with a person’s dreams,” ReadWrite says. “The next logical step would be using AI first to recognize how people are dreaming, then use those data (combined with historical data) to project how a person might dream in the future.”
The Challenge: Man vs. Machine
A familiar challenge is present when it comes to being able to recreate human dreams, especially to decision makers who are already using AI – manpower vs. machine power. ReadWrite says that there are countless variables that affect how humans sleep and dream, many of which aren’t fully understood by researchers. And while scientists may have the technology to collect data on dreams and sleep, there isn’t anything yet that can objectively measure their impact on dreams.
Another big challenge is the technology itself – there isn’t a solution on the market that is advanced enough to replicate human dreams. A specific problem with technology is resolution; AI technology cannot yet reconstruct high-resolution video of a person’s thoughts, ReadWrite says, and it’s “uncertain whether we dream in high resolution in the first place,” which muddles these questions further.
However, ReadWrite says that researchers will “almost certainly” be able to one day use AI to better understand human dreams, even if it’s years away: “t’s going to take a combination of technological innovation, scientific understanding, and a collective desire to see this tech through to development—and that could mean years, if not decades before we have a functioning algorithm or device.”