The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku

Future of the Mind

Summary
  1. Michio Kaku discusses the amazing research being done on the mind and its potential applications – telepathy, mind control, avatars, and recording memories and dreams to share with everyone.
Key Takeaways
  1. Kaku is a theoretical physicist but believes his unique perspective can help enrich the field of neuroscience
  2. Believes that neuroscience began once Phineas Gage got a spike thorough his brain and changed personalities. First time damage to the brain had been linked with changes in behavior
  3. Speaks of the exciting things to come such as thought controlled exoskeletons for paraplegics and being able to upload your memories and consciousness
  4. Argues that we can never explain consciousness because an object cannot know itself
  5. Consciousness is a mental model of the world which uses many feedback loops with different parameters (sight, sound, etc) with the goal of surviving and thriving. Animals create a model of the world (space) but humans do it with space/time in order to plan into the future
  6. EEGPET scanTESdeep brain stimulation and optogenetics have all been and will continue to be extremely informative tests to help understand, map and analyze the brain
  7. The purpose of memory is to help predict the future
  8. Memories are not stored in one area or chronologically. They are encoded in many different areas and when we recall them they must be reassembled
What I got out of it
  1. An exciting and eye opening account of current beliefs and tests on the brain. The potential technology and applications is fascinating and also a bit daunting. Good read if you are interesting in how the brain works and some possible almost science-fiction brain-based applications

Read The Future of the Mind

  • The mind and the universe are the most complex and intriguing objects in the universe and pose the greatest challenges of all
  • Discusses how the brain was formed and the different functions of different areas
  • MRI scans have been extremely helpful in helping to scan and map the brain to its different functions. The machine shoots radio pulses into the brain and analyzes the echoes our neurons emit
  • Right and left hemispheres communicate but have different priorities, different wills
  • Outlines 3 levels of consciousness – stream of consciousness, relating to others and predicting the future
  • Talks about telepathy, thought to computer communication, uploading memories and skills into the brain like in the matrix
  • Scientists have been able to make ‘smart mice’ by adding certain genes – leading to the belief that this will one day be able to be done in humans
  • Creb activators are part of learning and memory formation and by increasing them in fruit flies, scientists have given them photographic memories
  • Speaks of how one day we might be able to upload memories for everyone to download and share the same experience
  • Discusses savants and how many of them had injuries which dampened the left side of their brains control of the right or they were autistic to some degree. Also found that a big differentiator was their improved memory, where lack of forgetting instead of simply being smarter was the big difference. Believes we all have a savant inside but just need to release them
  • Humans separated from chimpanzees about 6M years ago and only 1.5% of our genomes differ. HAR-1 contains these few differences and is responsible for our intelligence and other traits
  • Hypnosis can help with memory recall but only up to a point
  • Speaks of mental illnesses, addiction, comas and why/how these help reveal how the brain functions
  • Perversion of the ordinary elicits the most fear
  • Speaks of robots and how they are the future, brain sequencing, immortality, aliens and the possibility of life in the universe, determinism vs free will (argues for free will)

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