Nicholas Negroponte on Biotechnology and Future Learning

The founder of MIT's Media Lab imagines a future in which information and knowledge can be delivered to the brain through the bloodstream.

When Nicholas Negroponte spoke at the inaugural TED event in 1984, he made five predictions (though he calls them extrapolations) that more or less came true. Negroponte was working off 15 years of research and forecasted what he could reasonably expect to happen in the field of digital technology. Because of the accuracy of his forecast, Negroponte is often asked to make additional predictions about what we can expect in the next 30 years. He explains his prediction (this time, not an extrapolation) in today's featured Big Think interview:


"The key to my prediction is the best way to interact with the brain is from the inside, from the bloodstream. Because if you inject tiny robots into the bloodstream they can get very close to all the cells and nerves and things in your brain, really close. So if you want to input information or read information, you do it through the bloodstream."

Negroponte describes biotechnology as the next big innovation wave, similar to how digital was 30 years ago and how plastics were a generation before. His prediction about ingesting information through the bloodstream is steeped in the theory that you can marry biology and silicon in order to alter the brain from the inside. Technologies such as these are the future, he says, even if that future is still decades away.

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Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

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  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
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