Hacking the Brain

by Maria Konnikova, “The Atlantic”, June 2015

HACKING THE BRAIN

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THE PERFECTIBILITY OF THE HUMAN MIND is a theme that has captured our imagination for centuries—the notion that, with the right tools, the right approach, the right attitude, we might become better, smarter versions of ourselves.

We cling to myths like “the 10 percent brain”—which holds that the vast majority of our thinking power remains untapped—in part because we hope the minds of the future will be stronger than those of today. It’s as much a personal hope as a hope for civilization: If we’re already running at full capacity, we’re stuck, but what if we’re using only a small fraction of our potential? Well, then the sky’s the limit.

But this dream has a dark side: The possibility of a dystopia where an individual’s fate is determined wholly by his or her access to cognition-enhancing technology. Where some ultra-elites are allowed to push the limits of human intelligence, while the less fortunate lose any chance of upward mobility. Where some Big Brother–like figure could gain control of our minds and decide how well we function.

What’s possible now, and what may one day be? In a series of conversations with neuroscientists and futurists, I glimpsed a vision of a world where cognitive enhancement is the norm. Here’s what that might look like, and how we can begin thinking about the implications.

Personalized Smart Pills

In many ways, we’re already living in a world of constant neuroenhancement. There’s methylphenidate (a k a Ritalin), intended to treat ADHD and narcolepsy and now used by test takers and paper-writers the world over. In controlled trials, the drug has been shown to improve memory, concentration, and motivation in individuals who have no cognitive impairment. There’s modafinil, developed to treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. In people who have gotten a full night’s rest, it has been shown to increase executive function, memory, and attention—and in those who have gone without much sleep, it has helped stave off symptoms of sleep deprivation. There’s also donepezil, developed to treat Alzheimer’s. Like other anti-dementia drugs, it has been shown in clinical trials to improve both verbal and procedural memory (the memory we use to perform a complex set of actions, like driving a car) in healthy individuals.

None of these, of course, is the mythical “smart pill,” a supplement we could take to instantly boost our IQ by 10 points. Instead, each targets specific components of intellectual output: memory, concentration, motivation. And sometimes those functions come at the expense of others. Increase concentration with Ritalin, for instance, and your creativity could suffer. But the day may come, says Guoping Feng, a neuroscientist at MIT, when we understand neural mechanisms well enough to design personalized pills that can bolster your particular strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Several biotech companies are looking to do just that.

Give Yourself a Jolt

The idea of using electric currents to change brain function is not new—the electroconvulsive therapies of yore were based on the concept—but in recent years we’ve gotten much better at controlling where that current goes and how much of it is administered. Today’s electric stimulation is the fine watercolor to electroshock therapy’s finger painting.

The most common approach, transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDCS, involves applying a small current to the scalp in order to modulate brain activity. It has gotten a lot of attention lately, and with good reason: In several recent studies, tDCS appears to improve concentration, problem-solving ability, and working memory (which enables us to hold in our minds the information we need to carry out a complicated task). The effects can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

Jamie Tyler, an Arizona State University neuroscientist, co founded a company called Thync because he was inspired by the potential benefits of brain modulation. Thync has developed a prototype device, tested on more than 3,000 people to date, that can either calm us down or give us a boost of energy—providing an avenue toward concentration or creative association, respectively. “It’s just another tool to be able to navigate your daily life,” says Tyler—akin to a cup of coffee during a late-night cram session or a few minutes of meditation before a big presentation. (Some kinks remain, though: When I tested a beta prototype in Thync’s Boston office, I received a mild electric shock to the head instead of the promised calming vibe. A failure of a software update and not the device itself, I was told.)

A Pacemaker for Your Head

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Another option is to install electrodes deep inside your brain, to stimulate areas that tDCS cannot reliably reach.

Deep-brain stimulation is already used to treat Parkinson’s disease as well as some severe cases of depression. A surgeon inserts electrodes directly into the brain—the location depends on the intent—and connects them to a device in the chest that resembles a pacemaker. That device can then regulate the brain’s electrical impulses and chemical levels via the electrodes. Applications of deep-brain stimulation may someday be more enhancing than therapeutic: in 2013, a team from UCLA showed that the procedure could buttress memory and improve the ability to process and store information, and this spring, a study using rats determined that it could potentially stave off memory loss and dementia-like symptoms. In other words, in addition to making us smarter, deep-brain stimulation could also ensure that we remain smart for longer.

Direct Connections

Electrodes aren’t the only things we may someday start implanting in our brains. Consider what you could do with a chip in your head that linked directly to the Internet: Within milliseconds, you could retrieve just about any piece of information. And with the collective knowledge of the Web at your disposal, you could quickly fill in your brain’s normal memory gaps—no one would ever guess you slept through that economics seminar. That’s the (distant) future envisioned by people like Anders Sandberg, a computational neuroscientist and self-described transhumanist at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. Sandberg believes in the possibility of the extended mind, a way of transcending our cognitive limits through brain implants. And why stop at the Internet? A future mind could potentially connect directly to other future minds. Whether such connections would make us smarter or just overwhelm and confuse us—we’ll have to wait and see.

Designer Brains

Down the road, the most controversial approach to neuroenhancement could be a way not of stimulating the brain but of reengineering it. Until a few years ago, such a possibility was purely theoretical, the realm of philosophical debates and ethical quandaries. Now, however, researchers have developed a genome-editing technology called CRISPR (or, more technically, Cas9), which scientists could use to change any part of an embryo’s genome, one nucleotide at a time.

It was developed to fight disease by correcting mutations before a baby is born. But one can imagine a day when we are able to identify genes associated with cognitive ability and manipulate them for higher output. Granted, that day is a long way off. “There’s no single gene for intelligence. We can’t just go in and change one gene and become cognitively enhanced,” Feng says. What we can do now is gain a deeper knowledge of the relationship between the genome and brain function—and perhaps in a few decades, we’ll be in a position to evaluate whether such tinkering is a good idea.

When that day comes, health concerns may overshadow the ethical considerations around engineering super-smart babies. The truth is that we have no idea what the long-term effects of any artificial enhancement may be. Will our brains be able to withstand running at artificially heightened capacity?

“There’s a discussion going on that our brains have evolved over millions of years and might already be at optimal neurochemical equilibrium, and any attempt to change something there can only do harm and can’t strongly enhance brain function,” Martin Dresler, a German neuroscientist who studies cognitive enhancement, told me.

If that’s the case, ethics could be the least of our worries.

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“SO SMART THEY KNOW THEY ARE STUPID,
SO ALIVE THEY KNOW THEY ARE DEAD.”

— Dr Franz Frankenstein 

A Brief Chronicle of Understanding Intelligence

1800s: Craniometry—the practice of measuring skulls to determine intelligence and other traits—is widespread.
1905: The Binet-Simon test, a precursor to the modern IQ test, is introduced.
1946: Mensa, the society for people with high IQs, is formed.
1962: The MIT scientist Joseph Altman discovers that our brains generate new nerve cells well into adulthood.
1970s: CT scans, PET scans, and later, fMRI technology lead to new discoveries about how the brain works.
1984: The philosopher James R. Flynn observes that IQ scores have been steadily rising for decades.
2065: Personalized intelligence-boosting pills hit the market.

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27 thoughts on “Hacking the Brain

  1. “1970s: CT scans, PET scans, and later, fMRI technology lead to new discoveries about how the brain works.”

    Along with x-rays, these technologies are also sources for neural damage.

    The supposed ‘unused’ portions of the brain are necessary for autonomic functions and are the facilitation centers for repair and replacement of dead and diseased cells all through the body while in REM sleep. “Night sweats.’

    1. I`m a believer in leaving well alone, it worries me, these plans to tinker with perfect babies, on a par, or much worse, than circumcision.. There is an excellent article on The Truthseeker, about psychiatry, which points out the dangers of drugs, and electrical treatments.. Some years ago, I worked nights, with women who were constantly using “uppers”, and “downers”, such people are nuts, why not just leave things as they are, when, that is, nothing is wrong.. I have never felt the need to “enhance” anything about myself, am quite happy to be as I am..

  2. Gee, and all this time I thought Adam Kadmon was with us already when polatnick arrived on the Darkmoon scene.

  3. Dear Maria Konnikova:
    According to human thinking – the future looks bright. So bright in fact like Cory Hart sang, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”. All this talk of enhancing our brain or even living longer may be great but what about the down side. Humans seem to have this idea of jumping into the newest latest greatest thing, Atomic weapons, new technology, new drugs and methods, etc.. But we never consider the overall consequences of these new things. With drugs, you develop tolerance and will need more later on. With technology things speed up and develop in 12 – 18 months. Perhaps the changes will come to only hours, days, weeks or just 1 month one day. Despite all this increased computer technology, humans only use 10 – 20% of a computers or softwares tools and functions. The same applies to smartphones/iPads, etc. We are always being sold more than we need.
    We fall for what would be called “The Technology Trap”. We will become the slave to technology even if we turn ourselves into robot-human hybrids. According to Sybilla, technology will destroy us. But perhaps that is the point that the Global Elite are setting us up with a delusion that is a trap to remove/destroy 95% of humanity. Thus following the concepts of the Georgia Guide Stones or Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion or Illuminati goals or even the Biblical book of Revelation. This lie of today is exactly the same lie that the devil as the serpent stated to Eve in the garden of eden. That lie was – surely you shall not die. God had already guaranteed that Adam and Eve would live if not 1 thousand years but forever. But because Adam and Eve did not know this, the serpent (the Devil) tricked them so that the devil could rule the earth instead of them and that they would have a reduced existence and lifespan. From this lie of the serpent, humanity lost the physical and spiritual aspects of eternal life. Now Satan through these Globalists (mainly Int’l Jewry) want to destroy humanity by claiming to make us as gods but where Satan is the ultimate ruler from Jerusalem. Happily, God/Jesus Christ has other plans and things will change once Satan has had his time as allowed by God. Till that Day of the Lord, humans in this evil Matrix/System will continue to be deluded and programmed/brainwashed by their surroundings especially TV/Controlled Internet/Entertainment/Hollywood/the MSM and technology. That is why all those DC/Marvel Comics turned movies are so rampant from after the year 2000, because those movies not only pre-program us for our pre-planned future but also have Satanic messages in them that only learned truthers the likes of Darkmoon can decipher. And if you can not then google any movie title along with satanic/illuminati messages found in them to see what is going on. This article on the brain and longevity has the same type of manipulation exposed but does not go deeply enough into the Evil agenda of it all. So learn, inform, discern and awken to these plots. Perhaps a site like http://www.nicholson1968.com with its movie analysis page would help you. Darkmooners are further along in this battle than most. Thanks, Lasha and Darkmoon. Thanks, Norbert.

    1. At the Bilderberg Conference in Austria last week, one attendee was Google DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis.

      What is DeepMind?

      “Google DeepMind is an artificial intelligence division within Google that was created after Google bought Oxford University spinout, DeepMind, for a reported £400 million in January 2014. The division, which employs around 140 researchers at its lab in a new building at Kings Cross, London, is on a mission to solve general intelligence and make machines capable of learning things for themselves. It plans to do this by creating a set of powerful general-purpose learning algorithms that can be combined to make an AI system or “agent””

      This is a short excerpt from one blogger.
      “Think of Google’s value to the NSA or law enforcement of putting self-learning smartbots in Google’s ubiquitous tracking cookies and new AdID trackers to identify targeted actions, locations, faceprints, voiceprints, and other trackable activity internationally or domestically. With access to all the world’s information and a self-learning algorithms with no limits, spy services and law enforcement could track and find, not just individuals, but whole groups of people of most any size, that fit a particular profile, interest or concern. In sum, Google’s acquisition of DeepMind arguably raises more profound ethical problems, more broadly, quickly, and seriously than most any single corporate acquisition ever.” The future ain’t bright.

      http://precursorblog.com/?q=content/deepmind-%E2%80%9Cgoogle-ethics-board%E2%80%9D-oxymoron-and-a-warning-%E2%80%93-part-11-google-unethics-series

  4. Billions are being made by super intelligent and shrewd Yids. They are now marketing products promising to make a slow minded goy smarter. Ironically Yids marketing the smart pills never pop any of those intelligence enhancers themselves. The creator of the Yids good fortune is not pills but the attractive Jewess. Her vagina is wide open to the smartest and shrewdest of men. Millions of Yids are born without any knowledge of their biological fathers identity. Thank the Jewess and genetic evolution for Yids being gifted with the innate knowledge of how to turn a dollar into millions.

    1. Well mel, the kabbalic/talmudic jewess who wrote the article is for sure a genius at making up names for herself , she sure is tough at any rate. Yes, Connie is brilliant! Oh Connie! Oh my strong tough Connie, I know you have the toughness and strength to wait for that Perfect Man, Oh Connie Tough, Tough Connie you’re the dream girl for me :

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baFreVp8Crg

      If nothing else , jews very entertaining at any rate.

      1. The role of the Jewess in advancement of the Yid hybrid race is ignored by the education establishment. If accepted it would throw the whole theory of Behaviorism into the junk pile. Trillions of dollars are spent on the impossible task of upgrading those that are born stupid. A million jobs are created in the belief that a mule can be turned into a racehorse. The Yids are hated because they have proven to the world that smarts combined with shrewdness is inherited and innate.

    2. @ Mel

      Many are saying that this upcoming September is going to be quite tumultuous, and tumultuous in a jooish sort of way. According to the online soothsayers, Jew Shemitah will be arriving in September, whatever Shemitah is, I have no idea as I’m not a joo [ Thank God ] . What is this Shemitah? And what is the difference between Shemitah and Shekinah? Or, are they the same thing? I know you joos like to spell the same thing many various ways, like you jews have about, Oh I don’t know, about 666 ways to spell your “kabbalah”. So is jew Shemitah, whatever the hell that is, and jew Shekinah , one and the same thing, or no? If yes, please explain what Shemitah-Shekinah is. If not, please explain Shemitah, and also explain Shekinah.

      Also, most important, do you yourself think September 2015 will be the month of Shemitah? And if Shemitah and Shekinah are two different phenomena, then when will Shekinah be showing up?

      I ask you because I know you’re an expert on all things shrewd-ish yid-ish.

      1. THEREALORIGINALJOE
        The two words refer to the coming of some big event in September.The Talmud and Tarot predictions are superstitious nonsense. Yids have inherited the combined shrewdness of a slick Jewess and the smarts of the cleverest goy. Shrewd Yids are real not any tales of a coming Messiah or a hero Jesus walking on water.

      2. THEREALORIGINALJOE
        Shemitah and Shekinah are predictions of a great event in September 2015——–Nonsense.

  5. Personalized Smart Pills – I guess the author did not get the memo about the creator of ADHD (forget his jewish name) admitting that it was a made up disease just like most thinking people already knew. Staying away from the medical/sick industry would eliminate the need for resolution of the diseases mentioned.

    IQ is nothing more than memory of information exposure. IQ and rational thinking have very little in common, so who cares if IQ is increased unless you are going to be on the Jeopardy game show where you might win money for knowing useless information.

    Give Yourself a Jolt – When I was 6 years old, I lived on a farm that had a cow pasture with an electric fence. One day, I was crawling under the electric fence which I had done many times for a short-cut when I raised up a little too soon. The wire of the electric fence made contact with the center of my head from front to back. It hurt like hell and I saw thousands of stars on a black background, but I did not pass out. Thanks to this article, I now know why I am so brilliant. 🙂 🙂

    They are a little late in the calm you down or boost your energy level arenas. It’s called beer or wine, and rest, respectively.

    Direct Connections – How can that increase cognitive limits with unlimited internet porn flooding into the brain? BTW, human minds are already interconnected without the need for technology. It has been proven many times.

    Designer Brains – Should be about as successful as bt-corn which isn’t. Obviously, modern “science” is not too bright when it comes to really understanding what life is which is why they screw up most everything they touch.

    I would suspect that the jewish idiots funding all of this are not going to be in power long enough to pull off any of this even if they could, but that won’t stop them from lying about it and saying that they have. Since The Atlantic is one of their publications, they have already started the lies. More fear mongering from the chosenites. The academics involved might be better off learning how to grow food.

    1. When I was a kid, a couple of boys grabbed my hands, one on each side, then they both grabbed an electric fence with their free hands, I`m afraid it didn`t bring out the genius in me, probably the opposite..

      1. That’s okay if you’re not a genius, Ingrid, it doesn’t matter. We got the genius Tough Connie who is going to hack NWO brains and set us ALL FREE from the NWO!!!! Watch out NWO ilk –> We Got Tough Connie On Our Side!!! And our Tough Connie is going to hack your NWO ilk brains, NWO ilk!!! Watch Out! Our Connie wears combat boots, too, that’s cause our Connie is Real Kova TOUGH Kova!!!

    2. Once upon a time there was(is?) a ritual for boys who encountered electric fences regularly and for any ‘guests’ who desired a new adventure.
      A one time deal.
      Peeing on the electric fence!
      Unlike most abnormal behaviors associated with the male penis, THAT is one which didn’t amass many dedicated fans.

      1. @ HP

        Thanks for the reminder about an incident that I witnessed. I have been laughing for the past minute or so about that very thing on the very electric fence that nailed my head.

        I had two older brothers, one 9 years old and one 12 years old. The eldest brother conned the next oldest brother into peeing on the electric fence by telling him that it would make him feel really great. As I watched, the 9 year old brother peed on the electric fence and was immediately knocked backward to the ground, wetting his pants since he was unable to stop peeing apparently from the jolt. The eldest brother started laughing and then started running as the 9 year old brother got to his feet and commenced the pursuit of the eldest brother. Being 6 years old at the time, I stood amazed at my 9 year old brother because I never knew that he knew so many foul words. My 9 year old brother was normally a mild mannered kid and a little on the gullible side obviously.

        You are right. It was a one time experience.

        Thanks for the reminder and the laughs.

  6. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a
    man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

    The faithful witness

  7. The above article is right up my alley of expertise, myself having a PhD in applied mathematics and having completed another doctorate in fields related to brains’ science and research. I find the wording above – “optimum neurochemical equilibrium” – quite amusing and perceptively regressive, as most human beings (my testing and others’ have proved) shows that 98% of us 7 billions on this planet walk around with essentially empty, almost non-functioning craniums. Hence my recurrent use of such words as bubbas and village idiots to describe some of you! Just look at this New Song sheila – one brick short of a load!…. Most of us only receive enlightening electrical charges/impulses in the outer celebral-cortex marginals, where the most simple of life’s functions are found – such as the need to stuff food into an obese person’s mouth, or our constant fantazmagoria with sexual functions. For eg, there is my previous quote that the average adult male thinks of sex every 7 seconds! …. And despite what you think about my sexual proclivities, my grey matter only admits of sexual thoughts every 23 seconds! But I have to admit that my thoughts linger as hot spots for much longer than usual! …. Of course, most human beings are naturally suited to/capable of filling their grey matter with much, much more! …. I was involved in studies of Bushmen of the Kalahari – men, who at first, only showed cranial illumination lobes. in the food, sex, and “where the fuck are we?” areas. …. Our 8 samples were switched onto computerized learning tools which heavily stimulated various parts of their brains. One could speak perfect Cockney in 3 days; one could read and play Brahms in 5 days; and one could make big monies on the stock market in a few days; and so on. …. Maria Kornikova (she plays tennis as well) also talks about artificial brain implants and such. I told you in an earlier posting that I am getting the ultimate Internet system planted into my brain so that I will be able to be the super-human, that my genetic inheritance (I already have a 170 plus IQ) demands of me. My IQ will triple to 510 points! ….. My implant, as I said will cost over US$1 million, but the great unwashed will be able to get very basic/simple implants for little more than $1,000! …. For eg, Gilbert could have a basic system implanted gratis by me and within 30 seconds could name any 15 capital cities In the world. Meanwhile, my gracious self, with the ultimate system would be able to do intricate stock market negotiations, shifting $millions around on various interchangeable prices, at the power of the thoughts in my enhanced cortextual areas. …. And what is wrong with a vast hierarchy existing in humanity, with the 6.45 billions of the unwashed kept where they belong in their pitiful, brainwashed, carnal, yahoo-like minds and the other 500 millions having, I must say, all the brains?…… Isn’t how it all functions in the present? Only 1.86% of the planet’s 7 billions have the POWER! This tiny percentage also has 95% of all global wealth. …. My beef is that there are too many Jews in the POWER minority; and I can assure you that my matriarch ..Queen Elizabeth has strategies in place to remedy this situation. ….. Perhaps she will choose me as the incoming ruler of the planet! …. After all, it is really WE who control the American colonies and their bone-head peoples of all racial types.

    1. Your Queen Elizabeth, Maxie, sucked bagels out jew minority asshole, Max. She LERVED the jews to kibble-and-bits, Max. I know you’re a tough rough macho ALL-MAN REAL-MAN HE-MAN and you don’t tolerate no fairies around you. Did you know, Max, your Queen Elizabeth was called, lol, the “faerie queen”? How does it make you feel, rough tough macho ALL-MAN REAL-MAN HE-MAN the Queen you adore is, lol, the Queen of faeries?

  8. We have idiots. Don’t put them on brain steroids.

    1984: The philosopher James R Flynn observes that IQ scores have been rising for years

    IQ stands for ‘intelligence quotient’. If IQs are rising, they’re also falling. IQ itself is 1.

    Please don’t take brain enhancing drugs. The problem isn’t there.

    They’re making asses of you again, with your zealous cooperation.

  9. Malachi Martin in his book Vatican talks about the electronic conversion of human activity. Now we have idiots wanting to “enhance” their brains electronically. It won’t work. There is only one way to enhance one’s mind and that is by contacting the Divine within yourself through meditation and prayer. All the great mystics have done so.
    The methods have been around for thousands of years. All one needs is discipline, humility and introspection.

  10. Once the pharmas get control of all the minds in the world they will have hit the jackpot for selling their chemicals.

    Rothschild $$$$ will be in TOTAL control of every thought…. everywhere.
    ====
    What are the biggest uncaptured markets and populations that drug companies yearn for and dream about?
    China.
    India.
    This is the future path of the TPP. This is where the Pharma-guided TPP wants to go most fervently. This is the ultimate prize in Pharma’s battle plan. This is the TPP jackpot.
    This is ultimately where Pharma wants to replace traditional herbs with…what? Chemical death and destruction.
    https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/the-great-tpp-deathtrap-for-india-china/

      1. HP –

        Yes… a tad. I assume you DID mean…

        “Hacking The Brain” by Maria Konnikova, “The Atlantic”, June 2015

  11. When they’re not busy thinking up schemes to rob and murder us with their wars and dumbing us down with their poisonous vaccines and fluoridated water and chemtrailed air and GMO foods, our jooish masters are creating miracle smart pills to empower us goys to be the best that we can be so that we may reach for the stars and one day really land on the moon! Now, if you believed that, I’d like to sell you some prime real estate in the swamplands of Florida. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrCPXtmmmfA

    PS

    This reads like “predictive programming” literature (which some argue George Orwell’s 1984 was) to get us all ready for the chip implants aka the “Mark of the Beast”…the tattoos I’ve seen on young people makes me think they’re here already.

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