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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Can Science Reverse-Engineer the Human Brain?

Changing how we think of the brain may provide novel insights into how it actually works. By mapping larger patterns in brain biology, scientists could imitate the processes with machines. 

What's the Latest Development?


At present, the brain seems to many scientists a thing shrouded in ever-deepening mysteries. Our best attempts to understand how consciousness is created through non-conscious elements have led to niche analyses that seem to lose sight of larger goals. Futurist Ray Kurzweil believes our reductionist approach is working in the wrong direction. Rather than measure each tiny part of the brain's biology, we should study the patterns the brain produces as a whole. In this way, we can recreate the brain's smaller parts, thereby reverse-engineering the brain, without understanding exactly what they are. 

What's the Big Idea?

At the heart of Kurzweil's argument is the assertion that the trend of exponential technological development will allow for the creation of ever-more sophisticated scientific tools. That, however, is anything but guaranteed. Still, attempts to reverse-engineer the brain could "open the door to all sorts of significant innovations, such as the design of a computer that thinks more like us. This could be the springboard from which to make that leap." Once computers that simulate our brain our completed, they could be used to greatly augment our natural capacities to learn and understand. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

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