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A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory 87

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "People who have experienced traumatic brain injuries sometimes lose the ability to form new memories or recall old ones. Since many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suffered TBIs, the U.S. military is funding research on an implantable device that could do the job of damaged brain cells." Lofty goals: "To start, DARPA will support the development of multi-scale computational models with high spatial and temporal resolution that describe how neurons code declarative memories — those well-defined parcels of knowledge that can be consciously recalled and described in words, such as events, times, and places. Researchers will also explore new methods for analysis and decoding of neural signals to understand how targeted stimulation might be applied to help the brain reestablish an ability to encode new memories following brain injury. ... Building on this foundational work, researchers will attempt to integrate the computational models ... into new, implantable, closed-loop systems able to deliver targeted neural stimulation that may ultimately help restore memory function."
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A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory

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  • stop going to war (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 ( 1902712 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @01:34PM (#47416931)
    Maybe we should stop sending troops to places where warfare is a national pastime, and start funneling this money into things like income equality and reducing poverty. You know, things that can actually help people improve their own lives.
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @01:38PM (#47416965) Homepage
    It is very quick and easy for someone to load a bunch of crap onto a computer. It takes a lot longer to index all that information so that it can be found multiple ways (i.e. to find the word "peanut butter" in a book you can either read the entire book, looking for that word, of if someone has compiled an index at the back, just look there and find it instantly).

    All of the schemes to 'download' information to a human brain ignore indexing. That means if you were to say download a german dictionary to someone's human mind, they could NOT just speak german - nor could they understand it.

    Instead, they would have to laboriously spend hours thinking about every single german word, and eventually teach themselves german, from the memories they had installed.

    Indexing is the creation of relationships. Furthermore memories are not indexed just one way. The word dollar for example is indexed as a currency, as an example of words that begin with the letter d, as a kind of store, as pronunciation, and as rhyming with the word Holler. etc etc. etc.

    Memory is not a simple thing, but a very complex web of connections.

  • by Punko ( 784684 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @01:55PM (#47417123)
    Except that politicians will apply any new cognitive abilities to suit their prime consideration: reelection. What our politicians are interested in is how to make the "country" better. This is not the same as making the country better for its citizens. The metric for how they make the country better is how can they make the country better for themselves. Does this mean I'm lumping all the politicians together, and painting politicians that really are looking out for the greatest good of their citizens with the same brush? Sadly, yes. But I look forward to the 1% proving me wrong.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner