Reading Minds, Making Brains

March 06 2008 / by AlFin / In association with Future
Category: Other   Year: 2008   Rating: 11

Cognitive Science has embarked upon the epic quest to understand – and recreate – a functioning “human-equivalent” brain. With such a daunting task of unprecedented magnitude, different teams of scientists are approaching the problem from different directions. A UC Berkeley team used an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scanner to learn how the visual cortex (occipital lobe) of the brain decodes visual images.

Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists, led by Dr Jack Gallant from the University of California at Berkeley, said: “Our results suggest that it may soon be possible to reconstruct a picture of a person’s visual experience from measurements of brain activity alone. Imagine a general brain-reading device that could reconstruct a picture of a person’s visual experience at any moment in time.”

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Lab wants to capture minds... Literally!

June 03 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future
Category: Other   Year: General   Rating: 11 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

The mega-billion dollar Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) recently developed a new state-of-the-art facility – Janelia Farm Research Campus – to learn how brain cells store and process information.

Today, biologists can only observe a cell’s activity by indirectly analyzing chemicals it produces in response to stimulus. But what if you could take a picture of a brain cell at the very moment it recorded a thought? HHMI researchers believe this worthy goal can be achieved and they are rounding up some of the top researchers in the world to make it happen.

Janelia Farm will provide its world-class science team with near unlimited funds in a mostly unsupervised environment. “The Institute’s core belief is that scientists who demonstrate creativity and imagination make lasting contributions to benefit humanity when they are given flexible, long-term support and the freedom to explore,” said former HHMI President Thomas Cech.

Attempts to capture memories, personality, and feelings – elements that describe the mind – are not new. Researchers have successfully transplanted worm brains, and a proposal is underway to implant a trained mouse brain into a new mouse to see if habits and traits can be transferred. But the host body is destroyed in these experiments. (cont.)

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Unification across space-time dimensions.

February 29 2008 / by Virulent / In association with Future
Category: The Web   Year: Beyond   Rating: 8

As the lines between human and biological entities blur, and sophisticated mind communication networks are formed, what could be the potential impacts on society?

Imagine a world some point during the middle of the 21st century where virtual communities and direct mind to mind communication is possible at ever increasing speeds, Where human-machine entities can share information they choose at near the speed of light from any positions on the globe, imagine being able to understand almost as if it were your own cognitive processes how to read and write Japanese as someone from japan, or understand medicine or physics like a PhD graduate.

Difficult to imagine? Perhaps sounding a bit like the Borg from star-trek? well resistance is futile because the explosive nature of Nanotechnology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and most importantly information transfer all point towards a future much more vast and incomprehensible than this.

Since the dawn of single celled organisms life has grown to complex networks of single cells to organisms to human cognition itself and each explosion is not only an explosion in the capability to manipulate and adapt to the environment, its also an explosion in consciousness itself. And best of all it functions on very simple evolutionary principles that hold to this day (albeit in a slightly more complex batch of interactions).

To imagine what i mean think of a petri dish called earth and place inside that petri dish one single celled organism, provide it with a suitable environment and watch it divide exponentially till copies of itself cover the whole petri dish. Well then what? (cont.)

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