Recently we learned that scientists can figure out who we are thinking about based on our brain activity. Our brain activity is different for each person that comes into our mind, and by determining which brain activity is for which person, scientists know who we think about most. It seems that’s not all they can yank from our innermost thoughts. Now scientists can also determine what you’re dreaming about, or at least get an image of what you see. They can see your dreams.
If you are worried about privacy, I have some good news about this. First of all, they can’t see your dreams unless you let them. You have to have an fMRI, and it’s not like that would ever happen without your permission. Secondly, right now they are only hitting this with 60% accuracy, so there is a good chance they’d be wrong even if they did see your dreams. However, just the fact that this technology is progressing is mind-boggling to me.
This all basically works on the same premise as I described for scientists who can tell who you’re thinking about. Each time we dream, we have certain images that pop into our minds, which are associated with certain things we dream about. By studying which imagery is associated with which dreams, scientists can tell from reading a machine what you’re dreaming about. By putting all the information they gather into a learning algorithm, they can start to see your dreams so to speak.
There are many reasons why you might allow a scientist or doctor to see your dreams. For example, if you are experiencing nightmares, this type of data could help doctors come up with a way to stop them from reoccurring. This research could also unlock a lot of the mystery that surrounds dreaming and what causes it. Fascinating!