A dear friend of recently sent me an intriguing email with the title “Cool List!”. Within in I found a link to an article titled, “50 Things we know now that we didn't know this time last year”.
They list really did contain some fascinating items and I was glad to have read it, but one entry in particular really caused a double take. It was item number 12 which read “Scientists have discovered how to scan brain activity and convert what people are seeing or remembering into crude video images.”
“Hold on.”, I said aloud. “How did I miss that one last year?”
Immediately, Orwellian and unsettling imagery came into my head of glassy eyed, mouth gaping, drooling citizens hard-wired into sinister looking government controlled dream and thought recording machines (distressingly similar to something from Natalie Wood’s final film - “Brainstorm”).
But then, after I cast the reactionary and paranoid thoughts aside, I started to think more about the statement and the possible meaning of such a discovery – especially as an artist and visual communicator - as well as future uses.
First, some background information on the project from a very well written (at least in my non-neuroscientist based opinion) source http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=440.
According to the article, this technology is easily in it’s infancy producing only fuzzy, low resolution imagery after a very controlled setting. Nevertheless, (and you can read the details in the article above) I find the whole concept fascinating on so many levels that I simply don’t have the time needed to cover them all this morning.
But I will leave you with this non-traditional concept – if neuroscientist have created programs that can crudely decipher pre-existing brain waves, and please pardon my layperson’s handling of this, meaning brainwaves that they did not create – only found and “tuned” into. Then, doesn't that at least theoretically open the door for the possible viability of such presently unexplained phenomena of psychic messaging, empathic ability, psychometry and much more?
Ultimately, we, and indeed everything that we can know, are nothing more than a seemingly never ending ocean of pulsating energy. If a computer can be created to reconstruct imagery after decoding a person’s brainwaves than why can’t the human brain – the greatest computer in the known universe, do the same thing?
Pardon the cliché, but it does make the mind wonder. . .
By the way, the link to the list that started it all is here - http://www.att.net/s/editorial.dll?eetype=Article&eeid=7020757&render=y&Table=&ch=ne