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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday June 18, @06:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the never-forget-a-face dept.

Scientists have reconstructed faces nearly perfectly by analyzing the activity of neurons in macaque brains:

[Using] a combination of brain imaging and single-neuron recording in macaques, biologist Doris Tsao and her colleagues at Caltech have finally cracked the neural code for face recognition. The researchers found the firing rate of each face cell corresponds to separate facial features along an axis. Like a set of dials, the cells are fine-tuned to bits of information, which they can then channel together in different combinations to create an image of every possible face. "This was mind-blowing," Tsao says. "The values of each dial are so predictable that we can re-create the face that a monkey sees, by simply tracking the electrical activity of its face cells."

Previous studies had hinted at the specificity of these brain areas for targeting faces. In the early 2000s, as a postdoc at Harvard Medical School, Tsao and her collaborator electrophysiologist Winrich Freiwald, obtained intracranial recordings from monkeys as they viewed a slide show of various objects and human faces. Every time a picture of a face flashed on the screen, neurons in the middle face patch would crackle with electrical activity. The response to other objects, such as images of vegetables, radios or even other bodily parts, was largely absent.

Further experiments indicated neurons in these regions could also distinguish between individual faces, and even between cartoon drawings of faces. In human subjects in the hippocampus, neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga found that pictures of actress Jennifer Aniston elicited a response in a single neuron. And pictures of Halle Berry, members of The Beatles or characters from The Simpsons activated separate neurons. The prevailing theory among researchers was that each neuron in the face patches was sensitive to a few particular people, says Quiroga, who is now at the University of Leicester in the U.K. and not involved with the work. But Tsao's recent study suggests scientists may have been mistaken. "She has shown that neurons in face patches don't encode particular people at all, they just encode certain features," he says. "That completely changes our understanding of how we recognize faces."

Also at Singularity Hub and The Guardian:

Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, a neuroscientist at the University of Leicester who was not involved in the work, described it as "quite a revolution in neuroscience". "It's solving a decades-long mystery," he added.

The puzzle of how the brain identifies a familiar face dates back to the 1960s, when the US neuroscientist, Jerry Lettvin, suggested that people have hyper-specific neurons that respond to specific objects, a notion that became known as "grandmother cells", based on the idea that you have a specific neuron that would fire on seeing your grandmother.

More recently scientists found "face patches", clusters of neurons that respond almost exclusively to faces, but how recognition was achieved had remained a "black box" process. In the absence of proof otherwise, the grandmother model continued to appeal because it tallied with the subjective "ping" of recognition we experience on seeing a familiar face.

"This paper completely kills that," said Quian Quiroga.

The Code for Facial Identity in the Primate Brain (DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.05.011) (DX)


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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, @07:54PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, @07:54PM (#527571)

    How To Burn Blu-ray discs in Linux

    = Source: https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2017/06/msg00662.html [debian.org]
    = Re: Bluray Debian ISOs: Which app(s) burns bluray images?
    = Thomas Schmitt, Author - June 18, 2017

    "Hi,

    Anonymous wrote:
    > I need to use a burning application in Linux which supports blank
    > Bluray medium.

    As GUI you may use xfburn. Version 0.5.2 and later has Blu-ray support.
    Use the "Burn Image" feature, not the "New Data Composition" feature
    which would pack up the image inside an ISO 9660 filesystem.

    Brasero and K3B can do Blu-ray, too. But i don't know the oldest suitable
    version numbers or whether those are already in Debian 8.

    On the command line there is growisofs, which is somewhat orphaned,
    and cdrskin and xorriso, where i am the developer.

        growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/sr0=image.iso

        cdrskin -v dev=/dev/sr0 fs=64m -eject image.iso

        xorriso -as cdrecord -v dev=/dev/sr0 fs=64m -eject image.iso

    All three can do this since nearly 10 years.

    If you are unsure whether /dev/sr0 is the right address of your burner,
    do as superuser

        xorriso -devices

    to see a list of all idle CD-capable devices and their /dev/srX addresses.
    E.g.
        0 -dev '/dev/sr0' rwrw-- : 'HL-DT-ST' 'DVDRAM GH24NSC0'
        1 -dev '/dev/sr1' rwrw-- : 'ASUS ' 'BW-16D1HT'
    The first is an LG DVD burner, the second an ASUS Blu-ray burner.

    You need rw-permission to the /dev/srX file in order to burn.
    On Debian 8 there should be ACL which grant rw to the desktop user.
        getfacl /dev/sr0
    on my system says among other lines
        user:thomas:rw-
    If not, then i advise to let the superuser grant rw-rights to a less
    powerful user who then shall do the burn run.

    One may add options in order to avoid the slow and error prone checkreading
    while writing (aka Defect Management). growisofs inavoidably applies Defect
    Management if the medium is formatted. BD-R can be used unformatted, BD-RE
    cannot.
    To avoid automatic formatting of BD-R media:

        growisofs -use-the-force-luke=spare=none -dvd-compat -Z /dev/sr0=image.iso

    cdrskin and xorriso do not format BD-R automatically. With BD-RE it is
    possible to disable Defect Management although they must format them
    before first use:

        cdrskin -v stream_recording=on dev=/dev/sr0 fs=64m -eject image.iso

        xorriso -as cdrecord -v stream_recording=on dev=/dev/sr0 fs=64m -eject image.iso

    If you want cdrskin or xorriso to use Defect Management on BD-R, do with
    the BD-R medium before the burn run:

        cdrskin -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=format_defectmgt

        xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -format as_needed

    Have a nice day :)

    Thomas"

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