There are psychics, like Marla Frees (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) and then there are the REST of us. Every day we make thousands of tiny predictions–when the bus will arrive, who is knocking on the door, whether the dropped glass will break. Researchers are beginning to unravel the process by which the brain makes these everyday prognostications. While this might sound like a boon to day traders, coaches and gypsy fortune tellers, it could REALLY help soldiers find the enemy and avoid injury.
The researchers are focusing on the mid-brain dopamine system (MDS), an evolutionarily ancient system that provides signals to the rest of the brain when unexpected events occur. On the Discover Magazine website, Adam Piore describes real-life clairvoyant Gerwin Schalk, a biomedical scientist who is part of a $6.3 million US Army project to establish the basic science required to build a thought helmet–a device that can detect and transmit the unspoken speech of soldiers, allowing them to communicate with one another silently. Schalk wants to make silent speech a reality by using sensors and computers to explore the regions of the brain responsible for storing and processing thoughts.
His goal is to build a helmet embedded with brain-scanning technologies that can target specific brain waves, translate them into words, and transmit those words wirelessly to a radio speaker or an earpiece worn by other soldiers. Psychologist Jeffrey M. Zacks says, "When we watch everyday activity unfold around us, we make predictions about what will happen a few seconds out. Most of the time, our predictions are right. It’s valuable to be able to run away when the lion lunges at you, but it’s super-valuable to be able to hop out of the way before the lion jumps. It’s a big adaptive advantage to look just a little bit over the horizon."
Meanwhile, IBM has invented new computer chips that react like a human brain. The company says it has built two prototype computer chips that process data more like how humans digest information than the chips that now power PCs and supercomputers do. They can "learn," while current computers can only regurgitate the information they already have within them. The Master of the Key spoke of both the value and the dangers of artificial intelligence. The Pentagon must think this will have future military use, since the government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has invested $41 million in this research.
Can we know what the future will bring? Well, if we listen to John Hogue, we can get some pointers (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show too). What will THIS WEBSITE’S future be? If we don’t get more support from our readers and listeners, the prognosis isn’t good, so make sure we stay alive: Subscribe today!
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