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Archive for December 2009

Final Project

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Written by minjikwon

December 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm

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XVII. Video Scenes Pulled From Peoples’ Thoughts

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Dr. Jack Gallant of the UCB psychology department claims that it’s possible to reproduce video images from human brain activity.  Basically this means that it’s possible to extract brain memories or images onto youtube.  Dr. Gallant and his colleague Shinji Nishimoto have used fMRI to scan the brains of two videos as they watched videos. According to Times Online, “A computer program was used to search for links between the configuration of shapes, colors, and movements in the videos, and patterns of activity in the patients’ visual cortex.”  The computer program then was fed 200 days’ worth of YouTube internet clips and asked to predict which areas of the brain the clips would stimulate.  The software then monitored the two patients’ brains as they watched a film and reproduced what they were seeing based on their neural activity.  Even though the computer was able to identify the video clip, some of the details were lost. Gallant then explains that “some scenes decode better than others.”  For example, Gallant points out that they can decode talking heads really well but a camera pan across a scene confuses the computer’s algorithm. This idea has been entertained before, however; it’s been mentioned in sci-fi movies such as The Final Cut where a special implant makes it possible to record the internal images that a person sees and remembers. Another example is the sci-fi series Farscape which entertained the notion of peeling back the layers of a mind one by one and exposing the memories on a screen. 

This article eerily relates to the last entry I blogged about and my feelings still haven’t changed by much. Even though I believe that this advance in technology could help us, I believe that it’s more harmful than helpful especially when it’s in the wrong hands. For example:

The Pros:

Can help solve crime/murder mysteries

Good for people with Alzheimers

Just help you remember and share information in general

The Cons:

Identity theft/hacking

Invasion of privacy

Even though there are more pros than cons, the cons outweigh the positivity of the pros in terms of quality and severity. I just don’t understand why the world wants to put brain chips in our head or monitor the images we see. Advancement in technology is always an exciting thing but I have a strong belief that people are going to abuse the power given to them and use it for personal, selfish reasons in comparison to using it for “good”. I guess I’m just cautious of these new devices and people’s motives.

For more information, click here.

Written by minjikwon

December 9, 2009 at 1:53 am

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XVI. Brain Implants

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Intel wants brain implants in their customers’ heads by the year 2020; they want to be able to control all different sorts of gadgets directly via brain waves by 2020. The scientists believe that people will tire soon of using touch-screen/multi-screen technology such as using iPhones, Microsoft’s Surface Table, Android smart phones etc. They also believe that people will be craving the freedom of not using a mouse, tablet, keyboard, remote control etc. to scroll the Web. According to popsci, “The Intel team has already made use of fMRI brain scans to match brain patterns with similar thoughts across many test subjects” (Hsu 1). Intel is not the only company that has dabbled in this idea, however. Toyota has recently demoed a wheelchair that is controlled using brainwaves and University of Utah has created a wireless brian transmitter that allows monkeys to control robotic arms. 

This article relates directly with my last entry about the abuse and addiction of new technology. As I stated in the last entry, I’m afraid that we will become too dependent on these new gadgets and we will ultimately not be able to live or function without them. I don’t like the idea of a brain chip being installed in my head. I mean a few years back when I was in high school, I would’ve totally entertained and welcomed the idea but now I feel as if it’s too much. Have we as humans become so lazy that we need this brain chip to surf the web for us? This chip actually reminds me of this past weekend because my father entertained the idea of a remote control that could rotate the TV monitor so he didn’t have to physically move it in different directions for his convenience everytime. I believe that this chip is just going to promote more laziness and problems for the future. If this new invention succeeds, I feel as if the world is going to become a cross between The Matrix and Wall-E. I don’t want to be tied down to a computer chip. In the wise words of Albert Einstein, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

for more information on Intel’s brain chip, click here.

Written by minjikwon

December 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

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XV. Depending too much on technology?

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In this chapter, Saffer discusses the dependence we as humans have developed for technology. We have acquired a soft spot in our hearts for the constant expansion and growth of technology. Technology is accessible to everyone or most people everywhere so we tend to grow addicted to it and its functions; as the years pass, more products and services will utilize technology to their own benefits. It’s already happening around us. For example, you can order Dominos pizza online now which saves some the frustration of calling and placing their order through the phone. Saffer doesn’t only mention product and service advancement with technology but goes on to also mention robots which is machinery that performs a physical task. There are different types of robots for different services such as robot toys for children, cleaning robots, robots that cook etc. All of this dependency on technology and robots frightens me, truthfully. I feel as if we are getting too dependent on technology, computers, the internet etc. I’m afraid that our society is going to end up like I, Robot where robots will soon be integrated as a part of our daily routines  and lives. We’re just cramming all this information into little devices such as iPhones or Blackberrys. What happens if computers, robots, and the internet complete control of our lives? They already have such an impact on the way we go about our day but what happens if we actually start to center our days around these new technologies? Will we no longer be capable of doing normal functions? Will we lose all sense of functioning as a human because a machine can do it all for us? Will we forget how to cook, clean, bathe because there’s an advanced piece of machinery or computer service that can help us do it all? This intrigues me because once we get all the physical deeds such as shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning etc. out of the way with technology, what will become of our emotional well-being? Will a computer chip tell us how to feel emotions since we’ve become too clingy and dependent on technology?  I’m afraid of getting to this point. Even though I embrace the benefits of increasing technology, I despise the overuse and dependency that’s developed along with it. I’m afraid that soon we will be so dependent on it that we will just eventually morph into the robots.

Domino’s online ordering service.

Written by minjikwon

December 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized