Scientists Are Scary Close To Controlling Our Memories And Brains With Computers

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Computers that meddle with our thoughts, memories and brains might not be far off, The New York Times' Nick Bilton reports.

There are already thought-controlled gadgets and smart phone apps. But recently, a group of scientists at MIT took brain-computer interactions to a whole new level.

While they weren't able to create memories from scratch, they were able to associate different feelings to neutral memories in mice. In other words, they were able to turn frightening memories into indifference. When successful, the memory-altered mice didn't recognize the location where they had earlier received an electrical shock. They thought the negative memory had been created elsewhere.

Another feat scientists are getting closer to achieving is the ability to "upload" information into our brains. Learning another language, degree, or musical instrument could be as easy as falling asleep. Boston University scientists teamed up with a neuroscience lab in Japan and wrote a paper on "Decoded Neurofeedback." It's the ability to alter brain activity patterns via  functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, Bilton writes.

An even more mindblowing innovation that may not be far off: The ability to connect multiple brains together. 

Duke University neuroscientist Dr. Miguel Nicolelis has successfully done this in both mice and monkeys. Bilton explains:

"He has connected the brains of four mice in what he calls a 'brain net' allowing them to share information over the Internet. In another experiment, he took two monkeys and gave them both half of a piece of information to successfully move a robotic arm, which required them to share the information through their brain."

It's already working in humans. Harvard scientists enabled a person to move a rat tail just by thinking about it.



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