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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.

The Cellular Basis of Neural Computation

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.

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. 

Manufacturing Dreams

We used to think that sleep is a pas­sive process caused by reduced sen­so­ry stim­u­la­tion so that our nor­mal men­tal and phys­i­cal activ­i­ties can shut down. We held this belief since the time of Aristotle, and per­haps even before that. But now we know that this idea is com­plete­ly wrong.

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