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AI Re-Creates What People See by Reading Brain Scans


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Artificial intelligence re-creations of images based on brain scans (bottom row) match the layout, perspective, and contents of the actual photos seen by study participants (top row).

Credit: Creative Commons

The Stable Diffusion artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm developed by German and Japanese researchers can read functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans to replicate images people have recently seen.

Yu Takagi at Japan's Osaka University said the algorithm employs information collected from brain regions involved in image perception as the fMRI scan records peaks in brain activity; AI then is used to translate these patterns into an imitation image.

The researchers further trained Stable Diffusion on a University of Minnesota dataset of four people viewing a series of 10,000 photos.

To address the algorithm's tendency to render objects in photos as abstract figures, the researchers fed keywords from image captions accompanying the photos to the text-to-image generator.

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