About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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July 24, 2003

The Neurotechnology Wave (2010-2060)

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Before I take a few weeks to focus on my book, I'm posting a paper I wrote that was recently accepted by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.  I, like James Canton's paper on human performance enhancement, wrote the piece as part of the NBIC conference which I blogged extensively.  It is a short two-page paper that sits at the core of my book and the Brain Waves blog.

The nascent neurotechnology wave (2010-2060) is being accelerated by the development of biochips and brain imaging technologies that make biological analysis inexpensive and pervasive.  Biochips that can perform the basic bio-analysis functions (genomic, proteomic, biosimulation, and microfluidics) at a low cost will transform biological analysis and production in a very similar fashion as the microprocessor did for data.  Nano-imaging techniques will also play a vital role in making the analysis of neuro-molecular level events possible.  When data from advanced biochips and brain imaging are combined they will accelerate the development of neurotechnology, the set of tools that can influence the human central nervous system, especially the brain.  Neurotechnology will be used for therapeutic ends and to enhance human emotional, cognitive and sensory system performance. (check out the rest in the PDF)

I'll be discussing the topic in more detail at the Bay Area Futurist Salon on August 15th.  Until then, enjoy the upcoming guest bloggers.

Comments (9) | Category: NeuroWave 2050


1. Carole Smith on November 12, 2003 2:59 PM writes...

Neurotechnology is also being used as a form of intellectual theft. With the ability to enter the mind and access thoughts, there is absolutely no reason to doubt that the contents of a mind - particularly those pertaining to original ideas - will not, nor are not already, be scooped out for the purposes of another's self-aggrandisement.
My paper ON THE NEED FOR NEW CRITERIA IN THE LIGHT OF MIND INVASIVE TECHNOLOGY published on the above webste for the Journal of Psycho-Social Studies refers to this "mind-enhancemen" by fraudulent
misappropriation, while seeking to voice the outrage of victims of mind-invasive technology, who are also diagnosed as psychotic by the empowered of society when they protest. And to the dangers of fascist control.

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2. Randall Parker on November 13, 2003 2:07 AM writes...

Carole, Before technology advances to the point where people will be able to read each other's thoughts I think people will be able to program each other by, say, injecting viruses that would make a person much more compliant and willing to spill all their thoughts.

However, in order to want to read a person's mind to steal creative ideas it would first be necessary to know that some person is walking around with commercially useful creative ideas. Most people who have creative ideas tend to tell others and to write them up in order to start organizing an business effort to apply them. So there seem easier ways access such ideas. Also, a lot of creative ideas do not exist until the moment they are produced in some readable form. Someone sitting there writing a song writes it down as part of the act of writing.

Then there is the bigger problem of determining whether someone even has a creative idea worth stealing. Many ideas are scoffed at until they become successful.

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3. Lee Kent Hempfling on November 20, 2003 5:44 AM writes...

The trick is in identifying the idea scoffed as being viable or wishful thinking. Without knowing how the brain does what it does, all hopeful futurist predictions are wishful thinking.

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4. Zack Lynch on November 21, 2003 9:46 AM writes...

Lee: This is the whole point of the neurotechnology wave. As biochips and brain imaging become less expensive and more specific in their capability down to the nano-scale level, we'll learn a tremendous amount about the brain in the coming decades. I am not saying that we will be able to "upload and download" thoughts, but instead that we are on the cusp of developing powerful tools that influence in specific ways different types of mental states. This is not a digital process (ie we know, or we don't know--on or off) it's an evolutionary one where we obtain more information over time with a few punctuated leaps in analysis capabilities. Wishful thinking it is not.

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5. coolmel on November 25, 2003 11:52 AM writes...

Zack: here's what i did with the diagram i borrowed from you... my two cents:
"AQAL Overview of the Sixth Wave (2010-and beyond)"

me shut up now.

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6. Lee Kent Hempfling on November 25, 2003 2:59 PM writes...

Unless one connects to the right thing, one will never connect, no matter how well the intentions. Brain function is fluid and distributed as well as dynamic. Capturing it is useless without capturing the entire focus of the sense, which is not possible without filtering the other senses sharing the same process pathway. What you are saying it akin to hooking up a computer to a toaster to read the time needed to produce toast. It is not recorded in the manner in which monitoring can acquire.

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7. Ron Blue on January 25, 2004 11:04 AM writes...

Wishful thinking it is not.

It took me quite a while to get to the point that I could agree with Zack Lynch.

Fundamentally, a quantum computer could be seeded with as much recorded information from a person that it could and would generate a virtual imitational clone of an individual. In principle this could be transferred over to a robotic device and the person would continue living virtually in a real world.

Remember this is a copy of the person and would be like a twin going off in its own direction.

With current technology one's memory may be storable in useable form for about $100,000 in a holographic quantum interference computer as an experiment.

Ron Blue

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8. ashley on February 6, 2004 11:44 AM writes...

mr. kent has not been to school or otherwise for the info he writes in his papers. he speculates and wants all to believe what HE says. the fact of the matter is he is a dead beat father who has high ideals and is going nowhere for a 51 year old man without common sense and a line of bull. one day they will catch up to him and know him for what he really is.

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9. gayle on February 6, 2004 11:51 AM writes...

Zach: if you would like more info on mr. lee kent hempfling please contact me. i have known this man for more than 30 years and have followed some of his writings. i can not believe what he writes.

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