A 47-year-old woman named Ann regained the ability to speak thanks to the efforts of artificial intelligence.
Ann, who had a stroke a few years ago, has been unable to speak for 18 years. However, with the help of several electrodes connected to her brain tissue, the woman was again able to speak through the digital avatar.
The scientists attached 253 electrodes to Ann’s brain over a critical area for speech. The electrodes then intercepted brain signals that would normally have controlled the muscles in her jaw, tongue, larynx and face had she not suffered a stroke.
After implementing the AI brain implant, Ann worked with researchers to train the AI system’s algorithm to detect the brain signals it receives, including unique signals that help create different speech sounds.
The computer recognized 39 distinctive sounds, which were then used with a ChatGPT-style language model to translate into a sentence.
The researchers used sounds and signals to control a digital avatar with a personalized voice to sound like Ann’s voice before her injury.
The technology isn’t perfect, but it has shown some success, decoding only 28 percent of the words incorrectly in a test of over 500 phrases.
The AI brain implant can also translate brain into text at about 78 words per minute. This is slightly slower than the typical 110-150 words per minute spoken in natural conversation.
Despite the shortcomings, the researchers believe that recent advances in speed, accuracy and sophistication will only help improve this technology in the future, allowing more people like Ann to speak again.