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The Neuroscientist Who Wants to Upload Humanity to a Computer

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The human brain Chris Parsons/Getty Images

Randal Koene is recruiting top neuroscientists to help him make humans live forever

For Popular ScienceAdam Piore writes: Everything felt possible at Transhuman Visions 2014, a conference in February billed as a forum for visionaries to “describe our fast-approaching, brilliant, and bizarre future.” Inside an old waterfront military depot in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center, young entrepreneurs hawked experimental smart drugs and coffee made with a special kind of butter they said provided cognitive enhancements. A woman offered online therapy sessions, and a middle-aged conventioneer wore an electrode array that displayed his brain waves on a monitor as multicolor patterns.

By mapping the brain, reducing its activity to computations, and reproducing those computations in code, humans could live indefinitely…

On stage, a speaker with a shaved head and a thick, black beard held forth on DIY sensory augmentation. A group called Science for the Masses, he said, was developing a pill that would soon allow humans to perceive the near-infrared spectrum. He personally had implanted tiny magnets into his outer ears so that he could listen to music converted into vibrations by a magnetic coil attached to his phone.

The concept of brain emulation has a long, colorful history in science fiction, but it’s also deeply rooted in computer science.

None of this seemed particularly ambitious, however, compared with the claim soon to follow. In the back of the audience, carefully reviewing his notes, sat Randal Koene, a bespectacled neuroscientist wearing black cargo pants, a black T-shirt showing a brain on a laptop screen, and a pair of black, shiny boots. Koene had come to explain to the assembled crowd how to live forever. ”As a species, we really only inhabit a small sliver of time and space,”Koene said when he took the stage. ”We want a species that can be effective and influential and creative in a much larger sphere.”

Koene’s solution was straightforward: He planned to upload his brain to a computer. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] The Teenage Brain Explained

The narrator talks fast. I like that. Look for the phrase “Hormonal Rodeo”.

Being a teenager is hard. Especially when hormones play their part in wreaking havoc on the teenage body and brain. In this episode, Hank explains what is happening to the during the angsty-time.

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‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ Cure for Love: Should We Take Anti-Love Drugs?

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Breaking up is hard to do. If drugs could ease the pain, when should we use them, asks neuro-ethicist Brian D. Earp

mg22129564.700-1_300For your research, how do you define love?

We tend to think of love as a phenomenon grounded in ancient neurochemical systems that evolved for our ancestors’ reproductive needs. There is more to our experience of love than brain chemistry, of course, but those brain-level phenomena play a central role.

The idea of love as a drug is a cliché, but does it have any characteristics of addiction?

Recent brain studies show extensive parallels between the effects of certain addictive drugs and experiences of being in love. Both activate the brain’s reward system, can overwhelm us so that we forget about other things and can inspire withdrawal when they are no longer available. It seems it isn’t just a cliché that love is like a drug: in terms of effects on the brain, they may be neurochemically equivalent.

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You have written about the possibility of using “anti-love biotechnology” as a treatment. When would it be warranted?

The idea of treating someone for an addiction to a bad relationship is something to be very cautious Lacuna Incorporatedabout. So we end up stacking the cards in favour of autonomy – the voluntary use of any “anti-love” intervention.

You can imagine a situation in which a person’s experience of love is so profoundly harmful, yet so irresistible, that it undermines their ability to think rationally for themselves. In a case of domestic abuse, that can be life-threatening. But even then, we wouldn’t recommend forcing drug-based treatment on someone against their will: non-biochemical interventions should be tried first.

So when would this type of treatment be ideal?

Some people in dangerous relationships know they need to get out, and even want to, but are unable to break their emotional attachment. If, for example, a woman in an abusive relationship could access medication that would help her break ties with her abuser, then, assuming it was safe and effective, we think she could be justified in taking it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why is Coffee Good? Because, Reasons

Coffee isn’t just warm and energizing, it may also be extremely good for you.

coffee-from-potIn recent years and decades, scientists have studied the effects of coffee on various aspects of health and their results have been nothing short of amazing.

Here are 7 reasons why coffee may actually be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

1. Coffee Can Make You Smarter

Coffee doesn’t just keep you awake, it may literally make you smarter as well.

The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.    Read the rest of this entry »


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