Connect your Brain to the Internet?
2006-12-11 0:00

By Lane Hudson | newsfortheleft.blogspot.com



Today, the Center for American Progress hosted a panel titled "Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense." CAP Senior Fellow Jonathan Moreno, Ph.D. gave a run down on his book and fellow panelist Jennifer Bard, a law professor at Texas Tech University, gave a legal analysis of advances in neuroscience research as applied to real life situations.

The most shocking comment came from panelist Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. when he said that it "is realistic that in ten to fifteen years, it could be possible to directly connect the human brain to the internet." He cited current research where neuroscientists are able to bypass lesions in the brain by connecting two sections of the brain by man made circuitry.

Despite such an earth shaking advancement being possibly a decade away, there exists no body of ethical oversight OR laws governing such research. The biggest sponsor of this type of research is the Federal Government, often funding scientific studies through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA.

Techniques currently in development include functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI. It takes pictures of brain activity in real time and is being used to learn reactions of the brain to figure out if someone is lying, their sexual orientation, if they have racist tendencies, if they are extroverted, and countless other things. It is the closest that we have come to "mind reading."

DARPA is funding an "Enhanced Human Performance" project. Augmenting cognition, or increasing brain function, is one of the goals of this project. This can be accomplished by inserting a chip in a soldier's brain and increasing the bandwidth of brain activity.

The drug Modanafil has also been developed and can keep people awake for days at a time without the need for sleep or calories. This has already been made available in the private sector under the name Provigil.

This barely scratches the surface of an emerging issue about which the Center for American Progress hopes to begin a public discussion. The potential implications of this issue on civil liberties is enormous. It warrants much scrutiny until acceptable legal and ethical standards are created. There should also be a balance between using these new advances for national defense and using it in the private sector where it can be used to improve the lives of everyday Americans.

Article from: http://newsfortheleft.blogspot.com/2006/12/
connect-your-brain-to-internet.html


'The Matrix' is a step closer to reality; Neuroscientists break code on sight
From: physorg.com

In the sci-fi movie "The Matrix," a cable running from a computer into Neo's brain writes in visual perceptions, and Neo's brain can manipulate the computer-created world. In reality, scientists cannot interact directly with the brain because they do not understand enough about how it codes and decodes information.


Image: Neurons in a purely visual brain region called the inferotemporal (IT) cortex respond selectively to different images. As pictures were randomly presented to the monkey during specific intervals (top), neurons at different sites in IT produce distinct patterns of activity to each picture (bottom). For example, neurons at site 1 favor the toy and the yam, while neurons at site 3 prefer the monkey face and the cat. Image courtesy / Poggio/DiCarlo labs

Now, neuroscientists in the McGovern Institute at MIT have been able to decipher a part of the code involved in recognizing visual objects. Practically speaking, computer algorithms used in artificial vision systems might benefit from mimicking these newly uncovered codes.

The study, a collaboration between James DiCarlo's and Tomaso Poggio's labs, appears in the Nov. 4 issue of Science.

"We want to know how the brain works to create intelligence," said Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor in Brain Sciences and Human Behavior. "Our ability to recognize objects in the visual world is among the most complex problems the brain must solve. Computationally, it is much harder than reasoning." Yet we take it for granted because it appears to happen automatically and almost unconsciously.

"This work enhances our understanding of how the brain encodes visual information in a useful format for brain regions involved in action, planning and memory," said DiCarlo, an assistant professor of neuroscience.

In a fraction of a second, visual input about an object runs from the retina through increasingly higher levels of the visual stream, continuously reformatting the information until it reaches the highest purely visual level, the inferotemporal (IT) cortex. The IT cortex identifies and categorizes the object and sends that information to other brain regions.

To explore how the IT cortex formats that output, the researchers trained monkeys to recognize different objects grouped into categories, such as faces, toys and vehicles. The images appeared in different sizes and positions in the visual field. Recording the activity of hundreds of IT neurons produced a large database of IT neural patterns generated in response to each object under many different conditions.

Then, the researchers used a computer algorithm, called a classifier, to decipher the code. The classifier was used to associate each object -- say, a monkey's face -- with a particular pattern of neural signals, effectively decoding neural activity. Remarkably, the classifier found that just a split second's worth of the neural signal contained specific enough information to identity and categorize the object, even at positions and sizes the classifier had not previously "seen."

It was quite surprising that so few IT neurons (several hundred out of millions) for such a short period of time contained so much precise information. "If we could record a larger population of neurons simultaneously, we might find even more robust codes hidden in the neural patterns and extract even fuller information," Poggio said.

Article from: http://www.physorg.com/news7879.html



Related Articles
Mind at Light Speed - A New Kind of Intelligence
The Creation of Smarter Than Human Intelligence
The Ubermensch, the Superman and the Posthuman - Technofascism?
Cyborg Superman, Transhumanism and the Nephilim
MIThril, the next generation research platform for context aware wearable computing
Robot Demonstrates Self Awareness
US robot builds copies of itself


Latest News from our Front Page

Aurora Shooting Victim Parents Face $200K Court Fees, Bankruptcy, After Failing to Sue Ammo Dealers
2015-08-01 2:17
The 2012 Colorado Theater Shooting still doesn’t add up… Media character and ‘Shooter’ James Holmes in court in 2012-2013. In 2014, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, the mother and stepfather of Aurora Theater Shooting victim Jessica Redfield Ghawi, tried to sue the ammo companies they believe supplied shooter James Holmes with his ammunition, body armor and other items. They bleived that the online retailer BulkAmmo.com had sold Holmes ...
FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigating Confederate Flags at MLK's Ebenezer Baptist Church
2015-08-01 2:21
According to the Atlanta Police Department, two White men left four small Confederate Battle Flags outside MLK’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta … and get this, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is on the scene investigating the incident. Atlanta police Chief George Turner said his agency was working with federal authorities and they have not determined what charges might be ...
Democratic National Committee Chair Wasserman Schultz Can’t Explain Difference Between Democrat Party and Socialism
2015-08-01 2:08
Things got very awkward today when Chris Matthews asked DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz what the difference was between the modern Democratic Party and Socialism. We haven’t seen that dazed look since Rachel Dolezal was busted as a fraud. Wasserman Schultz was speechless. Completely stumped. Couldn’t answer. Then changed the subject. Because we all know there is no difference between today’s Democrat Party and the radical ...
Catching on slow: Yet Another Study Show Cellphone Radiation Cause Cancer
2015-08-01 1:44
The scientists were right — your cell phone can give you cancer. There have long been whispers of a cancer connection from your cell — and a new study backs up the claims. "These data are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation poses for human health," study author Igor Yakymenko said. Yakymenko’s meta-study — basically a study of ...
Trump Goes #Cuckservative on Immigration
2015-08-01 1:28
For weeks, the media have trumpeted the supposed death of the Trump campaign. First, they claimed, Trump’s campaign imploded on launch thanks to his comments about illegal immigration. Then they claimed that Trump was finished because of his slap at Senator’s (R-AZ) war service. But neither of those comments alienated Trump’s base – he’s maintained his seven point lead over ...
More News »