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Original post by Raving Lunatic on 03//09


An interesting article from Cracked online describing some of the many ways the human brain is a much sloppier tool than most of us are willing to admit.

Here's a question that occurred to me: How much of this type of stuff is intrinsic to being human? What's going to happen when we have the ability to interface our consciousnesses with computers thereby (theoretically and for the purposes of this question) improving memory and perception and correcting many of these 'faults' in perception?

Posted by mrwilder

It's not just intrinsic to being human, it's actually intrinsic at the nerve level, and has to do with the way neurons fire in order to make perception occur.

A real-er truth is that we ONLY notice change, and then we immediately become blind to anything that isn't changing. Here's why: Cells can only support being in an on or off state. When they switch to the "on" state, they "fire" a stimulus burst of energy. Obviously, one cell don't tell ya much about what you're perceiving - it takes a bunch of them doing different types of things to build perceptions. In any case, that firing takes place in a tenth of a second or so; after that, the cell does stay locked in its "on" position, but it's all out of "juice" to continue firing the stimulus... thus you become blind to whatever it is you are staring right at... however, when you take the stimulus away, you see/hear/smell/taste/feel/think the OPPOSITE of whatever the stimulus was! Think of the little "Stare at this dot for thirty seconds" experiments.

One neat little experiment that counters yet coincides with Cracked's list is this: We can take a little tiny piece of plastic (think of a contact lens) with an image of Wiley Coyote printed on it and literally stick it on the front of your eyeball. You'll see it for a second or a few seconds or so, until all your neurons get tired and have been sapped of their manly vital fluids. Then Wiley Coyote will disappear, even though the image is LITERALLY stuck to your eye.

That part is actually a complementary biological process, and all the neat tricks described on Cracked.com are countered with a similar neat trick in the OTHER direction in scientific literature. But the reason the "switching person" trick works is because our perception is not, as most people suspect, a tool to help us be MORE aware... it's a filter to prevent us from being aware of "too much". This part of perception is not biological, it's SOCIAL, and it's learned.

The truly, truly exciting thing is that this pestering social filter can be unlearned! Yes, that's right, if a human being decides to, she or he must act ruthlessly and deliberately to smash the monstrous enemy of awareness implanted in them by their TVs, parents, friends, and neighbors.

Course, that'd be a pain in the ass.

The experiment with interfacing brains and computers is done all the time anymore, in any number of ways. The resolution is low, but it's only a matter of time and refinement before somebody nails it. Of course, by that point, it will be academically clear that mental telepathy is a given - much to the dismay of our skeptic friends; since, after all, many of the brain/machines interfaces occur remotely. Indeed, one machine being studied pulls images directly out of the energy coming from a brain's cerebral cortex, and doesn't actually touch the brain in any way. The machine is able, from a distance of 4 or 16 cm(?) to reproduce a picture of what a person is looking at, or, amazingly, THINKING OR DREAMING about. VERY LOW RESOLUTION right now.

Perhaps surprisingly, or, maybe, perhaps NOT surprisingly, there's nothing super fantastically special about the brain energy: It's AC electricity, about 60 watts total for the whole nervous system if I recall, a portion of that for inside the brain, and a few watts leak out like radio waves. The cycles are real low but vary depending on your state of mind and stuff. Pretty much the "brain wave" machines you see in magazines and stuff are real and actually will induce vivid dreams because of... well, just look up "phase locked loop" and consider that the brain does lock onto phase loops. The phase for dreaming is about 2-4 Hz I guess, but when your awake it's a lot faster. It's all out there somewhere.

January 23, 2019

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