Talk + Q&A by RUW/Huis73
Self-improvement through tools and technology has taken mankind to the next level. We no longer have to hunt, if we can’t see well we simply use glasses, and we communicate via a pocket-sized computer. Now that scientists also understand our brains more and more, it is possible to provide people with new, ‘upgrading’ gadgets as well. Where dementia used to be normal and ADHD did not exist, these abnormalities can now be treated with medication and brain stimulation. An implant for epilepsy? Yes, the developments are moving very fast.
But with every technological change, we are changed as well.
Current issues and ominous future scenarios mean that the boundaries between ‘healthy’ and ‘sick’ are shifting. After all, someone who cannot keep up in today’s knowledge society will benefit greatly from being upgraded to a socially desirable level. And tech magnates like Elon Musk have also applied themselves to neuro-technology. For example, he is working with Neurolink on a brain chip to stay ahead of the threat of artificial intelligence.
But do we actually know enough about our brains to understand what improvement means? What do we actually mean by improvement? Who can afford the privilege of brain enhancement? And what effect will this new class of upgraded humans have on the rest of society? Will everyone become equally smart, or will it widen the gap between those who succeed and those who lag behind?
We’ll talk to artists and scientists about where neuroscience stands, possible future scenarios and the ethical dilemmas involved.
LIVESTREAM – At 20:00 a livestream will be available via Youtube | Facebook RAW to follow the entire conversation from home. Participate in the chat!
Nick Ramsey: professor of neurosurgery at the UMC in Utrecht. His research focuses on implanted electrodes in the brain, which allow paralyzed patients to control devices through brain activity.
Antye Guenther: visual artist and researcher. From her medical, photographic and military background, she explores themes through her art such as (non-)biological intelligence and supercomputing, scientific representations of cognitive processes and mind control, body perception in techno-capitalist societies and science fiction.
Jennifer Kanary: Artist, researcher and founder of roomforthoughts. She wonders whether we can effectively use a deviant brain with the rise of AI in the future for new insights and realities.