If you missed Natasha Mitchell, host of Australia's weekly national radio program, All in the Mind, interview me about The Coming of the Neurosociety, the transcripts are now available.
Here is an excerpt :
Zack Lynch: Currently the United States has recently implemented fingerprinting people as they come into the United States from certain countries. If they have the capacity to do brain finger printing should that be done, is there a right for individuals, Americans, or foreigners to have brain privacy? Where is that edge in a neurosociety?
Natasha Mitchell: Where indeed? Hello Natasha Mitchell with you for All in the Mind. This month sees the release of another surreal offering from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman with the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film has stars Jim Carey and Kate Winslet selectively erasing their minds of memories of their tumultuous relationship with the help of a maverick scientist and a whiz bang piece of neurotechnology.
Extract from the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind trailer:
Here at Lacuna we have a safe technique for the focussed erasure of troubling memories.
Is there any risk of brain damage?
Technically the procedure is brain damage.
Its on a par with a night of heavy drinking, nothing youll miss.
That baby is history.
Its all been wiped away.
They are erasing you Clem youll be gone by morning.
Natasha Mitchell: Yes, well it sounds improbable though not according to my guest today who believes that the rapid convergence of nanotechnology, cognitive science, biotechnology and information technology, which all gets abbreviated to 'Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno' by the way, will have major consequences for how we think and behave.
You might have read recent headlines championing the arrival of the next big thing in the advertising world, Neuromarketing - just one example of the prospects for neurotechnology. Its an attempt to find the 'brains buy button', so they say, and the idea is to scan our brains, measure cerebral blood flow to find out what our subconscious minds really feel about a product and to tailor ad campaigns accordingly.
The hype around it all has been palpable and keeping a keen eye on it is Zack Lynch whos Executive Director of a non-profit organisation hes founded called the Neurosociety Institute and he also runs a popular net blog called Brain Waves Neurons Bits and Genes, exploring technologies that target the contents of psyche and beyond. And Zack joins me today on All in the Mind.
Zack Lynch thanks for joining me on the program from there in San Francisco.
Zack Lynch: Well thank you for having me.
Natasha Mitchell: You think were on the cusp of yet another major societal transformation, you suggest that were heading towards a neurosociety. What is a neurosociety?
Zack Lynch: Well if we look back through human history what we see is weve come from an agricultural society to an industrial society, today were living in an information society where political, economic, social changes, basically driven by information technology. If we look forward what we see is the convergence of multiple technologies that will allow us to develop effective tools for mental health. Now those tools are neurotechnology, the set of tools that allow us to manipulate our central nervous system, more specifically our brain. Our future society will be driven by neurotechnology. Now thats brain scanning technologies, neuroceuticals, which are advanced psycho-pharmaceuticals and those will create new industries. They will have political, economic and major ethical implications.
Natasha Mitchell: You paint a pretty grandiose vision, Ill come to neuroceuticals in a minute because thats an intriguing possibility you suggest that neurotechnology has the potential to redefine competitive advantage, restructure patterns of global production and make possible new modes of artistic expression. I mean to some ears this all sound rather improbable.
Zack Lynch: Sure, with any new technology theres always promise and peril; its a double-edged sword. Now I think its important to know that when I talk about the neurosociety what were really talking about is a time from about 2010 to 2060. This isnt something thats occurring now so when youre looking at how brain scanning technology is and neurotechnology is in its current state today.
Natasha Mitchell: Positively antiquated.
Zack Lynch: Correct, absolutely, as I like to say, Prozac is the wheel!