Sunday, April 13, 2008

Who's in charge, you or your brain?

The ghost in your machine may be dancing to the tune of your brain, about seven seconds behind the beat. Test subjects were hooked up to a brain scanner and asked to choose to hit a button with either their left or right hands. Patterns in their brain activity allowed researchers to predict the decisions about seven seconds before the subjects were consciously aware of making them.

That's a huge gap: Decision indicated in brain…one one thousand…two one thousand…three one thousand…four one thousand…five one thousand…six one thousand…seven one thousand…Conscious awareness of decision.

Who is making the decision? Is there a who, or is it just some complicated algorithm? Inquiring minds brains want to know.

The image below is from a Wired article describing the research.

Monkey see. Monkey do. Monkey control a robot with its mind.

This video demonstrates research at Duke University that may one day lead to technology that allows a paraplegic to control a bionic body with her mind. It's from January, but I just came across it today. Maybe I can join you all in the physical world someday!


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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at