Science Friday, speech decoding

On Science Friday Ira had one of his occasional fantastic guests. He was exploring the brain, recording and playing back words.  On the radio, you'd hear the actual spoken word, then you'd hear the consequent brainwave. It was intelligible, barely.  While the research was really cool, on reflection it didn't seem so strange that there's an electrical signal running around in your head that sounds like "chair" when I say "chair."

Then I started to think, "what will it sound like as they go deeper in?"

Following the signal chain from that word to the muscle commands that make you sit down, I'm expecting a more and more pulse-like burst of signal, less of a chair, and more of a databit.  What are the internal symbolic representations of words, the things with meaning?  Are they still vaguely "chair-sounding?" Or are they structurally encoded, just a data bit, but WHICH data bit, which networks activated that matter.

Writing it now it still sounds prosaic but I was really enthralled at the time. Maybe worth a listen.

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