Dreams continue to be one of the great mysteries of mankind as many people have attempted to determine their significance, if any, to our day-to-day lives. People have used dream journals or similar apps to find any sort of meaning or significance of the dreams they have had, while others believe that they are simply a way in which the brain processes and stores memories.
Researchers have attempted to determine the significance of dreams for decades but now with a newly developed AI, they have come closer than ever. Researchers at Cambridge University’s Nokia Bell Labs in the U.K. have used this AI to study the largest collection of dreams to date which amounts to 38,000 dreams. This AI “dreamcatcher” as they call it can be used to “automatically identify and quantify the characters, interactions, and emotions of dreams by processing the natural language dreamers use to narrate their visions.”
This AI has found several interesting commonalities between dreams and the person who is having them. One broad finding is that women tend to have more lively and happier dreams while men tend to have more aggressive and negative. War veterans tended to dream of violence, and blind people dream more of imaginary characters.
The researchers’ early conclusions were that dreams reflect someone’s experiences while they are awake. While studying recent dreams researchers have found that there has been an increase in dreams about COVID-19 and some about civil rights issues after the recent protests in the name of Black Lives Matter. This again supports a long-lasting theory that dreams are a way in which the brain processes recent information.
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The study of dreams is intended to continue but to do so researchers are required to gain large amounts of dream data. With the need for so much data about dreams, people are beginning to become concerned about the privacy aspect of knowing about someone’s dreams. While learning the significance of dreams can help in terms of psychology and therapy, the possibility of the misuse of this information becomes more probable. Some fear that studying someone’s dreams could turn into a whole new form of data mining in which people could be profiles based on their political or religious beliefs, preference in consumer goods, or even likelihood of partaking in a specific action. While learning the meaning of your dreams would be fascinating, if the potential for that information being used against you is apparent perhaps it would be best to keep your dreams private.