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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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  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @03:03PM (#47417825)

    "a lot of basic research needs to be done first" == "is unlikely to happen in your lifetime"

    In high school I took a science fiction class, and we read the Foundation Trilogy [], which contains a description of the Encyclopedia Galactica [] which was an instantly available compendium of human knowledge. When a student mentioned that it would be cool if we actually had something like that, most people agreed that "it won't happen in our lifetime".

    When I first used the Internet in 1982, it seemed almost magical how I could communicate with people and instantly download files from dozens of computers. I mentioned that it would be really slick if everyone had access to something like that. The lab director laughed and said "not in our lifetime".

    Most "not in our lifetime" forecasts underestimate the exponential nature of progress. Once a certain critical mass of knowledge has accumulated, additional progress can be astonishingly fast.

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