Mind over Matter
Our brains are the portal through which we access reality, essential to human life. With new technologies, we are increasingly capable of connecting and exposing our brain to the outside world. Should this excite or horrify us? (language English / Certificate*)
Time: 15:00-17:00 hrs. Admission is free. Limited seats available: full = full (doors open 15 minutes before event). See also Facebook.
As humans, we are gifted with an extraordinary brain, capable of processing massive quantities of information. It is perhaps the finest piece of biological technology in existence. And it allows us to not only process information, but to use that information and actively create thoughts; ideas; stories; logical propositions. To quote Emily Dickinson: “The brain is wider than the sky”.
Beyond its seemingly limitless imagination, our brain is also capable of steering and commanding our body. But what happens when technology allows us to link that brain to a computer? Can we enhance its powers? Can we project anything we can imagine into a world of (Virtual or Augmented) reality? What happens to reality when the divide between fiction and non-fiction becomes unclear or even irrelevant?
However unsettling the implications of extending our cognition through Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) might be, current developments are progressing fast, and with remarkable applications. For instance, Deep Brain Stimulation and BCI have allowed for some spectacular medical advances, from regaining limb-control in paralyzed patients to preventing epileptic seizures.
As technologies that integrate the brain with computers become more complex, so too do the ethical issues that surround their use. Already, it is clear that melding digital technologies with human brains can have provocative effects, not least on people’s agency.
- Dr. Maryam Alimardani takes us through the key aspects, characteristics and recent developments in Brain-Computer Interfaces and Virtual and Augmented Reality. She discusses the potential of combining these technologies and presents some of her own research findings.
- Dr. Nathan Wildman considers the philosophical consequences of the implied changing interplay between thought and reality, and what this can mean for our concepts of aesthetics and fiction
- Faviola Brugger Dadis explains the possibilities of the BCI- and VR/AR-technologies for the medical field. She will show us the focus of her current research and the activities of her start-up in cognitive training and rehabilitation: NeuroReality.
These talks are followed by a panel discussion.