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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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.
- According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
- Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
- Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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