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The Conversation #49 — Scott Douglas

People think that the Civil Rights Movement and all big epochal move­ments involve con­science, and they do. They also involve con­scious­ness. I mean, you can’t strug­gle against what you’re unaware off, right? The Klan as the icon­ic car­ri­ers of vio­lence, the Bull Connor of the icon­ic south­ern white male resis­tance, George Wallace the icon­ic neopop­ulist racist. You know, these were his­toric fig­ures in myth and real­i­ty. But we wouldn’t get to what they rep­re­sent­ed till much later.

Elif Şafak on Memory and Learning from the Past

When I look at the signs today, I see a very strong trend back to what I call trib­al­ism, back to nation-states, nation­al­ism, reli­gios­i­ty, all those divi­sive forces that many intel­lec­tu­als in the 1940s, ‘50s, thought were going to dis­ap­pear grad­u­al­ly. That did not happen.

The War Inside: How Will the Human Body be Enhanced for War?

I want you to imag­ine the abil­i­ty to take a few drops of someone’s blood, to com­bine that with some cog­ni­tive and some phys­i­cal test­ing, and to be able to fig­ure out where that per­son is going to be most effec­tive in your military. 

Cyborg Anthropology and the Evaporation of the Interface

When you look at your online pro­file, is that real­ly you? It’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of you that can be act­ed on when you’re not there. But where do you end and the machine begins? The thing is that humans and tech­nol­o­gy have coe­volved with each oth­er over time, being very very cocre­ative. We have sur­vived because of tech­nol­o­gy, and tech­nol­o­gy has sur­vived because of us.

Controlling the Brain with Light to Reactivate Lost Memories

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 Computer as Extended Phenotype

The com­put­er is being used for so many things that I claim that we have to con­sid­er the com­put­er as part of our extend­ed phe­no­type. It’s just a part of a thing that has evolved with us using memes.

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