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Facebook的非植入式腦機接口,看穿你的心 2019-08-26 10:14:06



 

In 2017, Facebook announced that it wanted to create a headband that would let people type at a speed of 100 words per minute, just by thinking.

 

2017年,Facebook宣稱要開發一個能以每分鐘100字的速度從人腦向外傳輸語言的 “帽子”。

 

Now, a little over two years later, the social-media giant is revealing that it has been financing extensive university research on human volunteers.

 

Facebook表示,目前已經資助加州大學舊金山分校(UCSF)對志愿者大腦展開深入研究。

 

Today, some of that research was described in a scientific paper from the University of California, San Francisco, where researchers have been developing “speech decoders” able to determine what people are trying to say by analyzing their brain signals.

 

UCSF發表的論文提到了腦機接口的最新進展,研究人員一直致力于“語言解碼器”的開發,它可以通過分析大腦信號來判斷人們想說的內容。

 

The research is important because it could help show whether a wearable brain-control device is feasible and because it is an early example of a giant tech company being involved in getting hold of data directly from people’s minds. 

 

這項研究非常重要,它可以判斷這種非侵入式可穿戴腦控設備是不是真的可行,這也是大型科技公司從人腦中直接獲取數據的先例。

 

To some neuro-ethicists, that means we are going to need some rules, and fast, about how brain data is collected, stored, and used.

 

一些神經倫理學家認為,我們要先制定規則并快速掌握搜集、儲存和使用大腦數據的方法。

 

In the report published today in Nature Communications, UCSF researchers led by neuroscientist Edward Chang used sheets of electrodes, called ECoG arrays, that were placed directly on the brains of volunteers.

 

《自然·通訊》雜志的論文中提到,以神經科學家Edward Chang為首的UCSF研究人員將ECoG電極陣列直接植入到志愿者大腦中。

 

The scientists were able to listen in in real time as three subjects heard questions read from a list and spoke simple answers. One question was “From 0 to 10, how much pain are you in?” The system was able to detect both the question and the response of 0 to 10 far better than chance. 

 

科學家可以實時收聽到三個志愿者聽到的問題及其簡短回答。其中一個問題是“痛感分為0-10級,你在幾級?”系統可以準確檢測到問題和答案。

 

Another question asked was which musical instrument they preferred, and the volunteers were able to answer “piano” and “violin.” The volunteers were undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy.

 

另一個問題是他們喜歡哪種樂器,雖然剛做完癲癇手術,這三個志愿者還是可以回答出“鋼琴”和“小提琴”。

 

Facebook says the research project is ongoing, and that is it now funding UCSF in efforts to try to restore the ability to communicate to a disabled person with a speech impairment.

 

Facebook表示,該研究目前正在進行,UCSF主要致力于幫助有語言障礙的殘疾人恢復溝通能力。

 

Eventually, Facebook wants to create a wearable headset that lets users control music or interact in virtual reality using their thoughts.

 

最終,Facebook希望開發出一種非侵入式可穿戴設備,幫助用戶利用大腦調節音樂和VR交互。

 

To that end, Facebook has also been funding work on systems that listen in on the brain from outside the skull, using fiber optics or lasers to measure changes in blood flow, similar to an MRI machine.

 

為此,Facebook也投資開發了腦外信號接收系統,它與核磁共振機(MRI)相似,可以使用光纖或激光來測量腦血流的變化。

 

Such blood-flow patterns represent only a small part of what’s going on in the brain, but they could be enough to distinguish between a limited set of commands.

 

腦血流模式只能描述一小部分大腦活動,不過這已經足以區分有限的指令。

 

“Being able to recognize even a handful of imagined commands, like ‘home,’ ‘select,’ and ‘delete,’ would provide entirely new ways of interacting with today's VR systems—and tomorrow's AR glasses,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.

 

Facebook在官方博客中表示,“它可以識別出‘家’、‘選擇’和‘刪除’等一系列虛擬指令,這也為如今的VR系統和未來的AR眼鏡提供了全新的交互途徑。”

 

Facebook has plans to demonstrate a prototype portable system by the end of the year, although the company didn’t say what it would be capable of, or how it would measure the brain.

 

Facebook計劃在年底之前公布一個便攜的系統原型,但并未透露它是用來做什么的,也沒有解釋它如何測量大腦信號。

 

【Privacy question】

 

【隱私問題】

 

Research on brain-computer interfaces has been speeding up as rich tech companies jump in. On July 16, Neuralink, a brain interface company formed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, said it hoped to implant electrodes into the brains of paralyzed volunteers within two years.

 

科技公司已經競相展現了對腦機接口的興趣,相關的科研進展也加快了腳步。7月16日,SpaceX創始人馬斯克創辦的腦機接口公司Neuralink表示,希望能在兩年內將電極植入到癱瘓志愿者的大腦。

 

However, the public has reason to doubt whether tech companies can be trusted with a window into their brains. Last month, for example, Facebook was hit with a record $5 billion fine for deceiving customers about how their personal information gets used.

 

不過科技公司窺探人類大腦的行為還是遭到了公眾的質疑。Facebook上個月就因為非法利用個人信息被罰款50億美元。

 

“To me the brain is the one safe place for freedom of thought, of fantasies, and for dissent,” says Nita Farahany, a professor at Duke University who specializes in neuro-ethics. “We’re getting close to crossing the final frontier of privacy in the absence of any protections whatsoever.”

 

“我覺得大腦是人類思維和想法唯一的安全自由之地,”杜克大學神經倫理學教授妮塔·法拉哈尼表示。“看來我們就要打破最后這道防線了。”

 

 

Facebook emphasizes that all the brain data collected at UCSF will stay at the university, but Facebook employees are able to go there to study it.

 

Facebook強調,UCSF收集的所有大腦數據都不會外泄,不過Facebook工作人員可以去UCSF進行研究。

 

It’s not known how much money Facebook is providing the university nor how much volunteers know about the company’s role. A university spokesman, Nicholas Weiler, declined to provide a copy of the research contract or the consent forms signed by patients. He said the consent forms list Facebook among several potential sponsors of the research.

 

目前還不知道Facebook對UCSF的出資數額以及志愿者對這個項目的了解有多少。UCSF發言人尼古拉斯·威勒拒絕提供研究合同副本以及志愿者簽署的同意書。他表示,同意書上列出了包括Facebook在內的該項目的潛在贊助商。

 

While a brain reader could be a convenient way to control devices, it would also mean Facebook would be hearing brain signals that could, in theory, give it much more information, like how people are reacting to posts and updates.

 

雖然大腦解碼器可以方便地控制腦機設備,不過這也意味著Facebook可以接收到所有大腦信號,理論上也給公司提供了更多的信息,比如公眾對帖子和更新的態度。

 

“Brain data is information-rich and privacy sensitive, it’s a reasonable concern,” says Marcello Ienca, a brain-interface researcher at ETH in Zurich. “Privacy policies implemented at Facebook are clearly insufficient.”

 

“大腦數據異常豐富,而且極度隱私,所以大家的擔心也不無道理,”蘇黎世聯邦理工學院(ETH Zurich)腦機接口研究員馬塞洛·伊恩卡表示。“顯然Facebook的隱私政策還不到位。”

 

Facebook says it will do better with brain data. “We take privacy very seriously,” says Mark Chevillet, who leads the brain reading project at Facebook.

 

 Facebook認為它的大腦數據研究會越來越出色。“我們非常重視隱私,”Facebook腦機項目負責人Mark Chevillet表示。

 

Correction: A system developed by UCSF decoded speech signals in the brain as people spoke aloud, not from silently imagined speech. 

 

更正: UCSF開發的系統所解碼的大腦語言信號是大聲說出來的,不是心里默默想出來的。

 

 

信息資料源自麻省理工學院



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