Moran Cerf, When Will We Get Neuro Tech For Ourselves?
MIT's Media Lab had a great streaming talk today by Moran Cerf, a professor of neuroscience and business at the Kellogg School of Management and the neuroscience program at Northwestern university. He also studies patients undergoing brain-surgery to examine behavior, emotion and decision making. This is accomplished by recording the activity of individual nerve cells using electrodes implanted in the patient's brain for clinical purposes.
Twitter users were invited to submit questions; I asked:
"How long will it be until this technology is mature/cheap enough for individual people who want to hack their own minds?" #MLTalks
I was only able to jot down some of his response, so this is paraphrased:
In 2010, a story that I had perfected dream control went viral; I was asked by businesses about it, they. wanted to option it. Even though I don't have it... they still wanted it. And then 4 years it became possible.
I think surgery, surgical implantation is the best way. However, I hope to replace this method with non-invasive methods, which are better...
SF stories are next. SF authors can write a script. They tap into millions of minds, we can tell that people have peak engagement. So how does a person sit in office and see what everyone wants?
I agree that prices are going down. However, real knowledge is a problem, but the world is not yet ready. people are not there yet.
(I also liked his t-shirt)
Science fiction fans have been reading stories that engage them, and stoke their imaginations. In his 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick makes extensive use of the cephalochromoscope, a consumer device used for relaxation:
"Your cephalochromoscope that cost you nine hundred dollars, that you always turn on and play when you get home - Ernie and Barris were babbling away about it. They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one..."
(Read more about the cephalochromoscope or cephscope)
Note that the root words for cephalo-chromo-scope literally means "brain" - "color" + "watch or see".
SF movie fans may recall the 1983 movie Brainstorm, starring Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood. In the film, a team of scientists creates "The Hat, a special helmet that is able to read sensations from one person's brain and write them to tape so that others are able to experience them.