Over the past century, we’ve been to the moon, we’ve split the atom, we’ve sequenced the human genome, but were still only at the very beginning of our understanding of the human brain. This is one of the great challenges that we face. If we can understand the brain, we can develop better treatments for brain disorders, we can design better robots, better computers, and ultimately we can better understand ourselves.
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From vast data centers to mobile phones, the power of computers continues to transform our lives. But there are some problems across artificial intelligence, in the design of new materials, pharmaceuticals, and clean energy devices that they will simply never solve. So even if we turned our entire planet into a giant supercomputer we wouldn’t be able to solve these and many other important problems. The good news is that if we could build a computing device based on fundamental quantum principles, we could.
The key molecule of optogenetics is a light-sensitive protein called channelrhodopsin, which is extracted from green algae. Scientists can insert channelrhodopsin into memory cells. Subsequently, scientists can even activate these with blue light which they deliver deep inside the brain with optic fibers.
The face is a constant flow of facial expressions. We react and emote to external stimuli all the time. And it is exactly this flow of expressions that is the observable window to our inner self. Our emotions, our intentions, attitudes, moods. Why is this important? Because we can use it in a very wide variety of applications.
If we want to continue increasing the performance of our computers, we need to rethink the way we compute. And our brains are wonderful proof that impressive computations can be carried out with a very low power budget.
As we began this work in 1987, 1990, going through that period, 3D printers were pretty clumsy. But now they’re cheaper, they’re much more precise and much more accurate. So, [now] we can actually print the chemicals for a battery.
Why are natural compounds better than synthetic chemicals to treat diseases? We have intensively analyzed all those known compounds in the natural products, and found that these compounds have higher similarity, especially structural similarity, to human metabolites.
When lower primates form a hierarchy, those at the bottom undergo a change in their dopamine system. This makes them more likely to consume drugs in an addictive fashion. Now, if this turns out to be true of our species, that would mean that human beings are particularly vulnerable if they’re in some way dominated or don’t have any power.