Science, Technology, and Current Futurism
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Science, Technology, and Current Futurism
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“DEVIATE: The Science of Seeing Differently” by Beau Lotto

“DEVIATE: The Science of Seeing Differently” by Beau Lotto | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
In DEVIATE, Beau answers the long-debated question: do humans see reality or not? Spoiler alert: we don't. In fact, our brains didn’t – couldn’t! – evolve to see the world accurately.  What we see is subjective, not objective. This fundamental revelation shows that everything we know is filtered by each individual's past experiences. It’s the reason why “dressgate” confounded the world and broke the internet in 2015. How was it possible that half the population saw the dress as blue and black and the other half saw it as white and gold? The answer is that color is simply a perception made by the brain when light hits the retina at differing wavelengths.  So, color – and the makeup of the dress itself – is not a reality but rather a perception and we see the dress differently than our neighbor because our brains interpret these wavelengths differently.

Sharrock's insight:
People have been arguing this point in LinkedIn and in college discussions for a long time: "What we see is subjective, not objective. This fundamental revelation shows that everything we know is filtered by each individual's past experiences."
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Getting brands into brains using bone conduction

Getting brands into brains using bone conduction | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Just when you thought it was safe to have a nap on a train, the window you’re resting your head on might try to sell you a new app, skin cream or tickets to the theatre. Sky Deutschland has announced a…
Sharrock's insight:

This bit (heh) alone blows the mind about sound and hearing: "One team of researchers has demonstrated that we can hear even when sound is transmitted through the eyeball. This seems to work because the eyeball and inner ear are connected through the plumbing within your head. Beethoven famously composed some of his most important pieces of music when he was deaf. Apparently, he would bite on a rod connected to his piano in order to use bone conduction to overcome his deafness. Two hundred years later, hearing via the teeth is being exploited in a new hearing aid, called the SoundBite."

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David M. Eagleman at #beinghuman2013: The Future of Being Human

David Eagleman examines how the contemporary journey into massive scales of space, time, and big data irreversibly expands our perspective on ourselves. At Being Human 2013, a recent forward-thinking lecture series, Jer Thorp and David Eagleman delivered new keynotes speculating on the future of being human. The conference, which took place in San Francisco last month, focused on how our perception of the world will change in the future. And, how big data and other technological and medical innovations will affect the way we interact with our surroundings. 


Eagleman kicked off his speech by explaining that every animal in the world (humans included) has "their own window on reality." Our perception of our environment, known as our "umwelt," is typically determined by the biological tools we're born with. Humans, for example, are not equipped to see x-rays or gamma rays or feel the shape of the magnetic field. Eagleman asks: "How are our technologies going to expand our umwelt, and therefore, the experience of being human?" 

"Our peripheral sensory organs are what we've come to the table with—but not necessarily what we have to stick with," he explains. He describes how we're moving into the MPH (Mr. Potato Head) model of evolution: Our eyes, ears, fingers, etc., essentially act like plug-and-play external devices that can be substituted to improve or enhance our view of the world. "The bottom line is that the human umwelt is on the move," he concludes. "We are now in a position as we move into the future of getting to chose our own plug-and-play devices." Imagine being able to see by transmitting electronic impulses through your tongue, or, embedding magnets into your fingertips that allow you to feel the pull of the magnetic field. There's so much happening in the world that we can't see, and Eagleman envisions a future where we can plug into new experiences and broaden our view of the our environment.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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A Dynamical Systems Account of Sensorimotor Contingencies

A Dynamical Systems Account of Sensorimotor Contingencies | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
According to the sensorimotor approach, perception is a form of embodied know-how, constituted by lawful regularities in the sensorimotor flow or in sensorimotor contingencies (SMCs) in an active and situated agent. Despite the attention that this approach has attracted, there have been few attempts to define its core concepts formally. In this paper, we examine the idea of SMCs and argue that its use involves notions that need to be distinguished. We introduce four distinct kinds of SMCs, which we define operationally. These are the notions of sensorimotor environment (open-loop motor-induced sensory variations), sensorimotor habitat (closed-loop sensorimotor trajectories), sensorimotor coordination (reliable sensorimotor patterns playing a functional role), and sensorimotor strategy (normative organization of sensorimotor coordinations). We make use of a minimal dynamical model of visually guided categorization to test the explanatory value of the different kinds of SMCs. Finally, we discuss the impact of our definitions on the conceptual development and empirical as well as model-based testing of the claims of the sensorimotor approach.

Via Ashish Umre
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How our brains keep us focused

How our brains keep us focused | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Scientists have uncovered mechanisms that help our brain to focus by efficiently routing only relevant information to perceptual brain regions.
Sharrock's insight:

A metacognitive skill may be the active influence on these two mechanisms: "two distinct processes, referred to as "sensitivity enhancement" and "efficient selection." Sensitivity enhancement corresponds to improvements in how neurons in the cortex represent sensory information like sounds and lights, similar to the volume control or reception control on a television set. Efficient selection is more like a filter, routing important sensory information to higher-order perceptual areas of the brain while suppressing disruptions from irrelevant information." . It may also be one of the main factors of genius.

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Sensory Substitution and Brain Plasticity: How to Augment our Senses

Since 1968 scientists have been creating sensory substitution and augmentation devices. With these devices they try to replace or enhance one sense by using another sense. For example, in tactile–vision, stimulation of the skin driven by input to a camera is used to replace the ordinary sense of vision that uses our eyes. The feelSpace belt aims to give people a magnetic sense of direction using vibrotactile stimulation driven by a digital compass. This talk discusses these developing technologies, mentions psychologists studying the minds and behavior of subjects who use these kind of devices, and analyzes the nature of perceptual experience and sensory interaction. The talk also explores the nature, limits and possibilities of these technologies, how they can be used to help those with sensory impairments, and what they can tell us about perception and perceptual experience in general.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Research | Columbia News

Research | Columbia News | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

A human nose has the remarkable ability to distinguish among more than 10,000 smells. How it does that was long an enigma until University Professor Richard Axel and his researchers discovered a pool of more than 1,000 different genes that encode olfactory receptors in the nose. This is believed to be the largest gene family in the human genome.

 
Sharrock's insight:

from the article: "His research with Buck combined molecular genetics with neuroscience in order to approach the previously tenuous relationship between genes, perception and behavior. They asked how the brain builds an internal representation of the external sensory world and how the recognition of olfactory stimuli might lead to meaningful thoughts and behaviors."

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