Scientists Convert Memories Into Video
The PC Magazine story at the link above reports on scientists at UC Berkeley who have found a way to track what the human brain has stored in its memory and use the information to produce a video representation of what a subject saw in the past. The experiment involved using a magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI) to track brain activity while subjects watched a You Tube video. Another video was then reproduced using only the activity monitored in the subject’s brain. The reproduced video was somewhat fuzzy, but clearly matched the original video.
Since human beings think in images, it seems we are on the verge of being able to project our thoughts into the outside world directly.
But that’s only the latest in a growing field of new developments which seem to be leading toward a direct connection between the human brain and the outside world without the need for a physical body. In September, 2010 it was announced that bioengineers at Utah University managed to “read” a patient’s mind electronically, translating thoughts directly into words. Other scientists are currently testing direct mind control of a prosthetic arm. Given continuing advances like these combined with older technology such as heart-lung machines, it seems the day is coming when the brain will be able to exist within a man-made body.
Long before that time, the human race will reach a moment when we must decide what makes us “human.” Determining the physical location of an individual’s humanity will no longer be a theoretical issue, but a serious, practical question.
Scientific discoveries have led many to view the human race as nothing but a more intelligent species of animal. The idea of a “soul” or “spirit”–something individual and uniquely human which exists independently of our physical bodies–has fallen on hard times. Now it seems science is poised to take us full circle, back to the idea that there is some form of identity which exists whether our bodies continue to survive or not.