Neurotechnology: Improving both the body and the brain
These days people take training very seriously. Any technology that can help athletes push themselves to new limits is in hot demand. Any edge that brings improvement faster with less effort is a hot, marketable commodity.
As neurotechnological advancements expand into the training and athletics domain, people will be taking advantage of the ability to directly tune their brains to optimize weight loss and muscle gain. Early research is already providing strong evidence that directly stimulating the vestibular nerve using a weak electrical current can alter how our bodies regulate fat storage. Similarly, activating the hypothalamus can fool the brain into thinking the body is more active than it actually is.
From blunt instrument to surgical precision
As amazing as these results are, brain hacks to produce fitness outcomes are in their infancy. A low level current is sent to a specific part of the brain. That’s all there is to it. It’s something of a blunt instrument right now but it won’t be this way for long.
Neurotechnological innovator Neurogress is developing software that utilizes advanced AI to learn and actively respond to how any given individual’s brain works. Imagine a future in which software analyzes in minute detail how an athlete’s brain is involved in moderating weight loss and muscle gain, tweaking it in real time to achieve the desired outcome. At this point we will have moved from blunt instrument to precision brain engineering.
Sooner than we possibly could have imagined, we will no longer be stuck with wishing that we could lose weight or hoping that we might gain muscle if we put in the hard work. Neurotechnology will make the process of getting there a known quantity and something we can control in gloriously fine detail.
But for me, the deeper allure is the idea of controlling my brain
As exciting as all that is, I think the possibilities for guiding and controlling our brain activities are more amazing and far-reaching. From fatigue, to forgetting things, to just waking up feeling depressed, many of us constantly fight with our brains. We humans constantly come up against the shortcomings of our massive, spongy, highly fallible brains. If humans are characterized by anything it’s a distinct lack of control over how we think.
But this could change, and radically.
Imagine activating an app on your phone and moving a memory retention bar from70% to 85%. You feel a tingle behind your right ear and suddenly you’re aware that your mind feels somehow … sharper. Memories come to you with greater clarity and ease. Or imagine going into the same app and tweaking the relative strength of your analytical and intuitive thought processes. Suddenly new ideas leap out at you, seemingly from nowhere. Or if a burst of inspiration is what you’re after, perhaps you might go into the section of the app which allows you to initiate a controlled out of body experience. Suddenly you are tripping only to return safely back to normality when you’re ready.
A little bit frightening? Sure. Bizarre? Absolutely. I’m sure opinions will be divided when we hit that point of having the technology to enhance our minds and play an active role in directing the way we think. There will be early adopters who delve enthusiastically into every corner of their gray matter and there’ll be people who consider it unnatural and distasteful.
I don’t think many people would argue though that this level of control over our minds will fundamentally change what it’s like to be an incredibly intelligent monkey descendent living on Planet Earth. To quote the genius and visionary Dr Seuss, “Oh the thinks you can think”.
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