It’s amazing, spine-tinglingly wonderous and more than a little bit frightening: scientists can now record the images in your head - and they’re on the verge of being able to record your dreams.
This is how it works: the subjects were exposed to movie trailers as the fMRI system recorded the brain's blood flow through their brains' visual cortex. The readings were then fed into a computer programme. Finally, ‘the computer analyzed 18 million seconds of random YouTube video, building a database of potential brain activity for each clip. From all these videos, the software picked the one hundred clips that caused a brain activity more similar to the ones the subject watched, combining them into one final movie’. Okay then.
Some of you may remember the Epic Wim Wenders sci-fi-trip ‘Until the End of the World’ from ’91, in which Max von Sydow play a scientist working on a project that’ll enable him to record dreams. That movie was slightly disturbing but still quite thought-provoking in its general techno-cultural perspective. Well, now we get to see what the actual IRL consequences of being able to view the darkest chambers of your mind’s eye will actually be. Will people go batshit insane from addiction to dream viewing like in the movie? Or will it just become another day at the office once we’ve grown accustomed to the technology? According to French philosopher Alain de Botton:‘if we found a way of being immortal, we would soon find it the most unremarkable state’. That would seem like a possible outcome of this adventure – that we utter a collective ‘meh’ when we’re seeing the dinosaur of our dreams eating a UFO, or something to that effect. Then again, maybe something wholly unpredictable is in store.