Too active too fast: How to choose what to think about when your thoughts materialize

One possibly daunting aspect of a neurotechnological future is that there will be a proliferation of information sources in our lives. Data may no longer be seen as separate from our immediate understanding of reality, but rather intricately bound up with our five senses. We may find ourselves awash in an informational rich wonderland, spoiled for choice at every turn about what challenges and entertainments our minds are presented with.

How will we choose what to think about in this kind of world? And perhaps more importantly, what options might we have for reducing the number of thoughts rattling around in our amped up brains?

A new level of control over our senses

We talk a lot about how new levels of neurotechnological control over our thoughts can provide us with more information, but what if we used it to “turn off” stimuli that aren’t helpful in a given situation or moment?

Imagine sitting in a crowded airport. Using an AI augmented neural interface you choose to lower your hearing by 80%. You gradually notice that the screaming infant two seats down is quietening to a dull trickle of whininess and then … blissful nothing. You might then mentally instruct your AI to keep an ear out for announcements and to let these through to your hearing. You might also throw on a bit of low-key white noise of the ocean just to complete the relaxing environment.

This is science fiction now (sadly) but the building blocks are already being established. Neurogress is developing software and designing prototypes that utilizes AI to greatly increase the sensitivity and specificity of brain signals that humans can controllably send. In the future we may have the luxury of being selective in what our minds need to process.

Neurotechnology and meditation

Being able to do more with our minds is exciting but we humans aren’t able to endlessly channel mental energy into our activities without ultimately hitting a point where we need to recharge and reflect. In a future of many competing priorities and an entire smorgasbord of sensory inputs enriching our lives, there’s likely to be demand for the precise opposite: stillness.

Even today, neurotechnological devices are being developed which use low-level electrical stimulation patterns to heighten a state of relaxation. Efforts are already being made to develop mind hacking technology which can gently manipulate the brain into a state of lowered stress and reflectiveness. At the moment, these tools are primitive. A passive signal is sent to the brain in order to achieve the desired result. It’s something of a blunt instrument.

AI is the game changer

But watch this space. With experiences like meditation that are personal, subjective and emotional, software that harnesses AI to learn how our brain works will be a big, vital step in the right direction. Neurogress is developing software which actively analyzes brain signals, learning how each individual thinks and then utilizing the resulting growing algorithm to manipulate a device with precision. AI opens up the possibility of deep customization to every individual’s unique way of thinking. In the future, complete relaxation may be only a thought away.

The key to having choice in how we think isn’t just about technology passively influencing us. It’ll also require an increased sophistication of our own brain’s “software”, so to speak — and ultimately for a dance to play out between mind and technology. Fortunately, companies like Neurogress are already working on software that harnesses AI to make that dance a possibility.

Neurotechnology innovation is capturing imaginations. It excites people. Invest in the interactive mind-controlled devices of the future by buying tokens now and help to promote innovation.

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