Mind Melds and Brain Beams: The Dawn of Brain-to-Brain Communication

Music students download the technique of their favorite pianist or singer directly into their brains. Medical students download the skills of a seasoned surgeon or diagnostician. And each one of us routinely uploads our thoughts and memories to the digital cloud. While these scenarios still lie in the future, rudimentary versions of the necessary brain-to-brain technology exist today. But the ability to directly influence another person’s brain raises serious questions about human rights and individual freedoms. This program will present the latest technology and explore how the ethical implications of enhanced thinking go to the heart of consciousness itself.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

Our media partner for this program is Popular Science.

Footage of the brain-to-brain interface experiment provided by the University of Washington. For more information on the research:www.washington.edu/news/2014/11/05/uw-study-shows-direct-brain-interface-between-humans/

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MODERATOR: John Donvan
PARTICIPANTS: Joseph Fins, Miguel Nicolelis, Chantel Prat, Andrea Stocco, Seung-Schik Yoo
Original Program Date: June 4, 2016

The Dawn of Brain-to-Brain Communication 00:00

John Donvan’s Introduction to Brain to Brain communication. 2:22

Participant Introductions. 4:10

What to keep in mind when thinking about brain to brain communication. 6:22

How does one get into the mind business? 8:15

Aurora the monkey plays a game with just her brain.11:05

Transitioning to human brain to brain research. 18:41

Connecting the brains of two rats. 22:27

The tangled ball of neurons in our head is “us” 29:40

The puppet master describes linking two humans through their brains. 32:33

Using focused ultrasound to connect two human brains. 42:19

What are the contemplative factors in brain to brain communication? 49:50

If you can get two animals to communicate can you link 100? 54:09

The worry of people controlling your brain. 59:48

The risk of sharing thoughts from one brain to another. 1:02:54

How long until we can just download knowledge to our brains? 1:07:40

Giving credit to Arthur Clarke. 1:09:28

Is there any fear of brain damage from this technology? 1:10:20

Is it crazy to think we will all have chips in our brains? 1:13:01

What are the goals of brain to brain communication in the next 5 years? 1:17:33
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