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A Layperson's View of Future Technology and Society

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Future Technology

Future of

























The Human Brain

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colrized image of the brain

The Brain

What can I tell you about the human brain? Not much. It is a fairly complicated organ. I am doing my best to understand more about the brain, as it is central to future issues like privacy, transhumanism and The Singularity.

Here as some general facts about the brain:

Center of the human nervous system
Most complex organ on earth
Weighs on average about 3 lb (1.5 kg)
Consistency similar to jelly
Estimated 50–100 billion neurons

The Mind

I find current philosophies of the mind to be as foggy as a morning hangover. How does the brain's processes generate the stream of consciousness we call the mind? I'm not sure that the science community can adequately answer this question. That may change, thanks to merging technologies like artificial intelligence, imaging, nanotechnology and supercomputers.

Brain Matters

Future breakthroughs in neuroscience could have a great effect on society. What will the world be like when technology can tell us without a doubt that the accused is guilty of a crime, a spouse has cheated, or an employee would likely steal? How about uploading your memories for posterity or downloading the skills you need for that new job? Record your dreams for later viewing or control your computer (or any device), just by thinking about it. Many of these futuristic technologies are already in development.

Some of the most controversial issues to face society in the future will come from cognitive breakthroughs. In my mind it comes down to this, the more we understand about the human brain, the more we know about ourselves, and that can be a bit unnerving.

Brain Frees

This image is not an actual lie detection scanPowerful lie detection tools may someday surpass the accuracy of the polygraph and permanently change how suspects are convicted -- and freed.

Imagine, a suspect is read words related to a crime while their brain is being scanned. A computer analyzes the data and informs the examiner if the suspect's memory holds information about the crime that only the perpetrator could know. The guilty could be clearly identified and the innocent would be set free.

Lie Detection

a white bald headed person looking down with circuits on their head and wires coming out.

 

Brain-Machine Interface

Brain machine interfaces (BMIs), allow for activity in the brain to be sent to, or received from, a computer.

Some BMIs use sensors mounted in a removable cap or MRI technology to read signals from the brain. Others connect directly to the surface of the brain, through tiny wires and an array of micro-electrodes. BMIs can also be entirely implanted in the brain.

Brain Machine Interfaces

Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the field that is devoted to the scientific study of the nervous system. Neuroscience is at the frontier of investigation of the brain and mind. The study of the brain is becoming the cornerstone in understanding how we perceive and interact with the external world and, in particular, how human experience and human biology influence each other.

Neuroscience - Wikipedia

Smart Drugs

Researchers are studying ways to improve memory, learning and other mental abilities by using substances called cognitive enhancers or smart drugs.

Brain-Enhancing Drugs: Legalize ‘Em, Scientists Say

Smart Drugs

Drugs may boost your brain power

Brain-boost drugs 'to be common'

Neuroenhancement

Brain Backup

Some experts predict that by the year 2050, computers will have the capacity to store all of the information contained in the human brain. For those that can afford immortality, their brains could be scanned and downloaded to machines, perhaps to be uploaded to a new brain.

Brain downloads 'possible by 2050'

Don't Forget to Back Up Your Brain

Mind uploading

Back up your brain funny video

Computers That Work Like Your Brain

 

close up of a person;s eye with a coputer chip in front of it.


A new NASA-developed computing device allows machines to work much like the brain. This technology may allow fast-thinking machines to make decisions based on what they see.

IBM plans 'brain-like' computers

The Blue Brain Project

Brain on a chip?

Brain Mind Articles, Blogs and Web Sites

All Links open in a new window. Bold = Recommended

Brain Mind Articles
Title Source Date
Electrical 'mind control' shown in primates for first time KurzweilAi.net 06/14
Non-biological brains could become reality by the 2050s IEET 01/14
Is a scientific definition of consciousness possible? KurzweilAi.net 10/13
Selectively erasing unwanted memories KurzweilAi.net 09/13
Creating new memories by directly changing the brain
KurzweilAi.net 09/13
Miniature 'human brain' grown in lab BBC News 09/13
Lab-grown model 3D brains KurzweilAi.net 08/13
Neuroscientists plant false memories in the brain MIT news 08/13
Computer modelling: Brain in a box Nature 01/13
Scientists explore the illusion of memory CBC 01/13
Researchers found information can be better retained with reinforcing stimuli delivered during sleep NSF 01/13
The Strange Neuroscience of Immortality The Chronicle 07/12
New hope for repairing diseased or damaged brains KurzweilAi.net 11/11
Rebuilding the brain's circuitry Harvard Gazette 11/11
Unexplained communication between brain hemispheres without corpus callosum KurzweilAi.net 10/11
Word association: study matches brain scans with complex thought Princeton University 08/11
Computer model of the brain is one step closer Mail Online 04/11
Researchers create functioning synapse using carbon nanotubes PhysOrg 04/11
Scientists Image Brain at Point When Vocal Learning Begins Science Daily 02/11
A Time-Lapse Movie Shot Inside the Brain Technology Review 01/11
Researchers can predict your video game aptitude by imaging your brain KurzweilAI.net 01/11
An Odyssey Through the Brain NY Times 11/10
How to erase a memory KurzweilAI.net 10/10
Could magnet on head turn you from right to left-handed? MailOnline 10/10
Human Connectome Project NIMH 09/10
Computers that read minds are being developed by Intel Telegraph 09/10
The Science Of 'Inception' Forbes 07/10
IBM scientists create most comprehensive map of the brain’s network KurzweilAI.net 07/10
Memories are made of this PhysOrg 06/10
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation boosts language ability in Alzheimer's patients PhysOrg 06/10
Neuroscientists can predict your behavior better than you can UCLA 06/10
Unconscious purchasing urges revealed by brain scans New Scientist 06/10
Reading Baby Brains Technology Review 05/10
The Race to Reverse Engineer the Human Brain H+ 11/09
How Technology May Soon "Read" Your Mind CBS News 06/09
'Consciousness signature' discovered spanning the brain New Scientist 03/09
Top 10 brain NewScientist articles from 2008 New Scientist 12/08
Technology to figure out dreams and other secrets inside people's minds PhysOrg 12/08
Bionic chip stimulates brain pleasure center MailOnline 12/08
Researchers make brain tissues from stem cells PhysOrg 11/08
Drug selectively erases memories New Scientist 10/08
Thought Helmet PhysOrg 09/08
'Pre-crime' detector shows promise New Scientist 09/08
First Detailed Map of the Human Cortex Technology Review 07/08
What Dictionaries and Optical Illusions Say About Our Brains SciAm 05/08
Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight TED Video 03/08
Where in the Brain Lies Intelligence? PhysOrg 11/07
The Technicolor Brain Technology Review 11/07
A Working Brain Model Technology Review 11/07
Brain Chip University of Florida 07/07
This Is a Computer on Your Brain Wired 07/06
A remote control that controls humans MSNBC 10/05

 

Brain / Mind / Neuroscience Web Sites and Blogs
Title Description
Allen Institute for Brain Science Medical research organization dedicated to accelerating the understanding of how the human brain works
Blueprint for Neuroscience Research NIH
Brain Facts Brain and nervous system primer
Center for Consciousness Studies University of Arizona
Controlling Uncertainty: Decision Making and Learning in Complex Worlds Book by Dr Magda Osman
Fun Facts About The Brain Brain Health and Puzzles
Human Connectome Project To map the brain
Society for Social Neuroscience Gathering place to advance and foster scientific training, research, and applications in the field for the sake of humankind

 

References
Article Sources
The Brain Article by futureforall.org
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
What are the benefits of Agro-biotechnology? Article by futureforall.org
Please Pass the Genetically Engineered Potatoes Paraphrased from fda.gov
Image by futureforall.org

 

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