Nicholas Negroponte: Nanobots in Your Brain Could Be the Future of 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.
Nicholas Negroponte: I gave a talk at the first TED in 1984 that was two hours long and it had five predictions in it that more or less all came true. And people called them predictions but they really weren’t predictions. They were extrapolations. The reason I talked for two hours is not because I was Fidel Castro and I was giving a rally. It’s because I had 15 years of research stored up and was about to open the media lab and it was real easy to talk about what we were gonna do and some of it even seemed old hat even though in retrospect people thought, oh, this is amazingly predictive. 30 years later, they say make a prediction as if I had made predictions the first time which I hadn’t. So this year I actually did make a prediction and it is in the prediction category in the sense that it’s not an extrapolation of work I’ve been doing for 15 years. But it’s part of work that some of my colleagues have started at the media lab which is really looking at the brain. Not just mapping the brain but how do you interact with the brain pretty directly. And almost everybody who’s done that has done it from the outside, you know, with sticking pins and needles or, you know, EEG or MEG or other ways. And 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. So by extension – and this is, you know, why it’s a prediction because it’s by extension, you could in theory load Shakespeare into your bloodstream and as the little robots get to the various parts of the brain they deposit little pieces of Shakespeare or little pieces of French if you want to learn how to speak French. So in theory you can ingest information and that was my prediction. I won’t be around to see whether it’s true but, you know, like many of these predictions it doesn’t have to be true as long as it gets people thinking. And there are people thinking about this and looking at it quite seriously. And I think it’s an area in sort of synthetic biology and sort of the interface between biology and silicon that is really what the future’s about. The digital world today is like plastics were 25 years ago. It’s an important field but kind of over. Digital world is like plastics and the biotech world is the next phase.
Nicholas Negroponte doesn't like to make predictions about the future; he prefers extrapolations based on research. But if pushed to make a guess about future innovation,Negroponte says that biotechnology will be like digital was 20 years ago. In this clip, he imagines a future in which information and knowledge can be delivered to the brain via tiny robots in your bloodstream.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.
- Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
- Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
- Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.