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Biology of our best and worst selves?

How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic, and so brutal and violent?

To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred.

Robert Sapolsky. Neuroscientist, primatologist, writer
A leading neuroscientists in the world, studying stress in primates (including humans). Full bio
Filmed in Apr. 2017

Chris Anderson: So Robert spent the last few years think about how weird human behavior is, and how inadequate most of our language trying to explain it is. And it’s very exciting to hear him explain some of the thinking behind it in public for the first time. Over to you now, Robert Sapolsky.

0:34 Robert Sapolsky:  The fantasy always runs something like this. I’ve overpowered his elite guard, burst into his secret bunker with my machine gun ready. He lunges for his Luger. I knock it out of his hand. He lunges for his cyanide pill. I knock that out of his hand. He snarls, comes at me with otherworldly strength. We grapple, we fight, I manage to pin him down and put on handcuffs. “Adolf Hitler,” I say, “I arrest you for crimes against humanity.”

Here’s where the Medal of Honor version of the fantasy ends and the imagery darkens.

What would I do if I had Hitler? It’s not hard to imagine once I allow myself. Sever his spine at the neck. Take out his eyes with a blunt instrument. Puncture his eardrums. Cut out his tongue. Leave him alive on a respirator, tube-fed, not able to speak or move or see or hear, just to feel, and then inject him with something cancerous that’s going to fester and pustulate until every cell in his body is screaming in agony, until every second feels like an eternity in hell. That’s what I would do to Hitler.

I’ve had this fantasy since I was a kid, still do sometimes, and when I do, my heart speeds up — all these plans for the most evil, wicked soul in history. (Stalin is more wicked. Bush Jr. too…) But there’s a problem, which is I don’t actually believe in souls or evil, and I think wicked belongs in a musical.

But there’s some people I would like to see killed, but I’m against the death penalty. But I like schlocky violent movies, but I’m for strict gun control. But then there was a time I was at a laser tag place, and I had such a good time hiding in a corner shooting at people. In other words, I’m your basic confused human when it comes to violence.

as a species, we obviously have problems with violence. We use shower heads to deliver poison gas, letters with anthrax, airplanes as weapons, mass rape as a military strategy.

We’re a miserably violent species. But there’s a complication, which is we don’t hate violence, we hate the wrong kind.

And when it’s the right kind, we cheer it on, we hand out medals, we vote for, we mate with our champions of it. When it’s the right kind of violence, we love it. And there’s another complication, which is, in addition to us being this miserably violent species, we’re also this extraordinarily altruistic, compassionate one.

 how do you make sense of the biology of our best behaviors, our worst ones and all of those ambiguously in between?

for starters, what’s totally boring is understanding the motoric aspects of the behavior. Your brain tells your spine, tells your muscles to do something or other, and hooray, you’ve behaved.

What’s hard is understanding the meaning of the behavior, because in some settings, pulling a trigger is an appalling act; in others, it’s heroically self-sacrificial. In some settings, putting your hand one someone else’s is deeply compassionate. In others, it’s a deep betrayal. The challenge is to understand the biology of the context of our behaviors, and that’s real tough.

One thing that’s clear, though, is you’re not going to get anywhere if you think there’s going to be the brain region or the hormone or the gene or the childhood experience or the evolutionary mechanism that explains everything. Instead, every bit of behavior has multiple levels of causality.

4:17 Let’s look at an example. You have a gun. There’s a crisis going on: rioting, violence, people running around. A stranger is running at you in an agitated state — you can’t quite tell if the expression is frightened, threatening, angry — holding something that kind of looks like a handgun. You’re not sure. The stranger comes running at you and you pull the trigger. And it turns out that thing in this person’s hand was a cell phone.

4:47 So we asked this biological question: what was going on that caused this behavior? What caused this behavior? And this is a multitude of questions.

4:56 We start. What was going on in your brain one second before you pulled that trigger? And this brings us into the realm of a brain region called the amygdala. The amygdala, which is central to violence, central to fear, initiates volleys of cascades that produce pulling of a trigger. What was the level of activity in your amygdala one second before?

5:19 But to understand that, we have to step back a little bit. What was going on in the environment seconds to minutes before that impacted the amygdala? Now, obviously, the sights, the sounds of the rioting, that was pertinent. But in addition, you’re more likely to mistake a cell phone for a handgun if that stranger was male and large and of a different race. Furthermore, if you’re in pain, if you’re hungry, if you’re exhausted, your frontal cortex is not going to work as well, part of the brain whose job it is to get to the amygdala in time saying, “Are you really sure that’s a gun there?”

5:57 But we need to step further back. Now we have to look at hours to days before, and with this, we have entered the realm of hormones. For example, testosterone, where regardless of your sex, if you have elevated testosterone levels in your blood, you’re more likely to think a face with a neutral expression is instead looking threatening. Elevated testosterone levels, elevated levels of stress hormones, and your amygdala is going to be more active and your frontal cortex will be more sluggish.

6:28 Pushing back further, weeks to months before, where’s the relevance there? This is the realm of neural plasticity, the fact that your brain can change in response to experience, and if your previous months have been filled with stress and trauma, your amygdala will have enlarged. The neurons will have become more excitable, your frontal cortex would have atrophied, all relevant to what happens in that one second.

6:53 But we push back even more, back years, back, for example, to your adolescence. Now, the central fact of the adolescent brain is all of it is going full blast except the frontal cortex, which is still half-baked. It doesn’t fully mature until you’re around 25. And thus, adolescence and early adulthood are the years where environment and experience sculpt your frontal cortex into the version you’re going to have as an adult in that critical moment.

7:23 But pushing back even further, even further back to childhood and fetal life and all the different versions that that could come in. Now, obviously, that’s the time that your brain is being constructed, and that’s important, but in addition, experience during those times produce what are called epigenetic changes, permanent, in some cases, permanently activating certain genes, turning off others. And as an example of this, if as a fetus you were exposed to a lot of stress hormones through your mother, epigenetics is going to produce your amygdala in adulthood as a more excitable form, and you’re going to have elevated stress hormone levels.

8:03 But pushing even further back, back to when you were just a fetus, back to when all you were was a collection of genes. Now, genes are really important to all of this, but critically, genes don’t determine anything, because genes work differently in different environments. Key example here: there’s a variant of a gene called MAO-A, and if you have that variant, you are far more likely to commit antisocial violence if, and only if, you were abused as a child. Genes and environment interact, and what’s happening in that one second before you pull that trigger reflects your lifetime of those gene-environment interactions.

8:45 Now, remarkably enough, we’ve got to push even further back now, back centuries. What were your ancestors up to. And if, for example, they were nomadic pastoralists, they were pastoralists, people living in deserts or grasslands with their herds of camels, cows, goats, odds are they would have invented what’s called a culture of honor filled with warrior classes, retributive violence, clan vendettas, and amazingly, centuries later, that would still be influencing the values with which you were raised.

9:18 But we’ve got to push even further back, back millions of years, because if we’re talking about genes, implicitly we’re now talking about the evolution of genes. And what you see is, for example, patterns across different primate species. Some of them have evolved for extremely low levels of aggression, others have evolved in the opposite direction, and floating there in between by every measure are humans, once again this confused, barely defined species that has all these potentials to go one way or the other.

9:52 So what has this gotten us to? Basically, what we’re seeing here is, if you want to understand a behavior, whether it’s an appalling one, a wondrous one, or confusedly in between, if you want to understand that, you’ve got take into account what happened a second before to a million years before, everything in between.

10:11 So what can we conclude at this point? Officially, it’s complicated. Wow, that’s really helpful. It’s complicated, and you’d better be real careful, real cautious before you conclude you know what causes a behavior, especially if it’s a behavior you’re judging harshly.

10:29 Now, to me, the single most important point about all of this is one having to do with change. Every bit of biology I have mentioned here can change in different circumstances. For example, ecosystems change. Thousands of years ago, the Sahara was a lush grassland. Cultures change. In the 17th century, the most terrifying people in Europe were the Swedes, rampaging all over the place. This is what the Swedish military does now. They haven’t had a war in 200 years. Most importantly, brains change. Neurons grow new processes. Circuits disconnect. Everything in the brain changes, and out of this come extraordinary examples of human change.

11:16 First one: this is a man named John Newton, a British theologian who played a central role in the abolition of slavery from the British Empire in the early 1800s. And amazingly, this man spent decades as a younger man as the captain of a slave ship, and then as an investor in slavery, growing rich from this. And then something changed. Something changed in him, something that Newton himself celebrated in the thing that he’s most famous for, a hymn that he wrote: “Amazing Grace.”

11:54 This is a man named Zenji Abe on the morning of December 6, 1941, about to lead a squadron of Japanese bombers to attack Pearl Harbor. And this is the same man 50 years later to the day hugging a man who survived the attack on the ground. And as an old man, Zenji Abe came to a collection of Pearl Harbor survivors at a ceremony there and in halting English apologized for what he had done as a young man.

12:23 Now, it doesn’t always require decades. Sometimes, extraordinary change could happen in just hours. Consider the World War I Christmas truce of 1914. The powers that be had negotiated a brief truce so that soldiers could go out, collect bodies from no-man’s-land in between the trench lines. And soon British and German soldiers were doing that, and then helping each other carry bodies, and then helping each other dig graves in the frozen ground, and then praying together, and then having Christmas together and exchanging gifts, and by the next day, they were playing soccer together and exchanging addresses so they could meet after the war. That truce kept going until the officers had to arrive and said, “We will shoot you unless you go back to trying to kill each other.” And all it took here was hours for these men to develop a completely new category of “us,” all of us in the trenches here on both sides, dying for no damn reason, and who is a “them,” those faceless powers behind the lines who were using them as pawns.

13:29 And sometimes, change can occur in seconds. Probably the most horrifying event in the Vietnam War was the My Lai Massacre. A brigade of American soldiers went into an undefended village full of civilians and killed between 350 and 500 of them, mass-raped women and children, mutilated bodies. It was appalling. It was appalling because it occurred, because the government denied it, because the US government eventually did nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and appalling because it almost certainly was not a singular event. This man, Hugh Thompson, this is the man who stopped the My Lai Massacre. He was piloting a helicopter gunship, landed there, got out and saw American soldiers shooting babies, shooting old women, figured out what was going on, and he then took his helicopter and did something that undid his lifetime of conditioning as to who is an “us” and who is a “them.” He landed his helicopter in between some surviving villagers and American soldiers and he trained his machine guns on his fellow Americans, and said, “If you don’t stop the killing, I will mow you down.”

14:45 Now, these people are no more special than any of us. Same neurons, same neurochemicals, same biology. What we’re left with here is this inevitable cliche: “Those who don’t study history are destined to repeat it.” What we have here is the opposite of it. Those who don’t study the history of extraordinary human change, those who don’t study the biology of what can transform us from our worst to our best behaviors, those who don’t do this are destined not to be able to repeat these incandescent, magnificent moments.

15:19 So thank you.

15:21 (Applause)

15:31 CA: Talks that really give you a new mental model about something, those are some of my favorite TED Talks, and we just got one. Robert, thank you so much for that. Good luck with the book. That was amazing, and we’re going to try and get you to come here in person one year. Thank you so much.

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.
How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he share…




Do we need more senses to create a few more?

We are built out of very small stuff, and we are embedded in a very large cosmos, and the fact is that we are not very good at understanding reality at either of those scales, and that’s because our brains haven’t evolved to understand the world at that scale.

0:31 Instead, we’re trapped on this very thin slice of perception right in the middle.

But it gets strange, because even at that slice of reality that we call home, we’re not seeing most of the action that’s going on.

So take the colors of our world. This is light waves, electromagnetic radiation that bounces off objects and it hits specialized receptors in the back of our eyes. But we’re not seeing all the waves out there. In fact, what we see is less than a 10 trillionth of what’s out there.

So you have radio waves and microwaves and X-rays and gamma rays passing through your body right now and you’re completely unaware of it, because you don’t come with the proper biological receptors for picking it up. There are thousands of cell phone conversations passing through you right now, and you’re utterly blind to it.

1:27 It’s not that these things are inherently unseeable.

Snakes include some infrared in their reality, and honeybees include ultraviolet in their view of the world, and of course we build machines in the dashboards of our cars to pick up on signals in the radio frequency range, and we built machines in hospitals to pick up on the X-ray range.

But you can’t sense any of those by yourself, at least not yet, because you don’t come equipped with the proper sensors.

1:58 Now, what this means is that our experience of reality is constrained by our biology, and that goes against the common sense notion that our eyes and our ears and our fingertips are just picking up the objective reality that’s out there. Instead, our brains are sampling just a little bit of the world.

2:21 Across the animal kingdom, different animals pick up on different parts of reality.

So in the blind and deaf world of the tick, the important signals are temperature and butyric acid;

in the world of the black ghost knifefish, its sensory world is lavishly colored by electrical fields; and

for the echolocating bat, its reality is constructed out of air compression waves. That’s the slice of their ecosystem that they can pick up on, and we have a word for this in science.

It’s called the umwelt, which is the German word for the surrounding world.

 Presumably, every animal assumes that its umwelt is the entire objective reality out there, because why would you ever stop to imagine that there’s something beyond what we can sense. Instead, what we all do is we accept reality as it’s presented to us.

3:18 Let’s do a consciousness-raiser on this.

Imagine that you are a bloodhound dog. Your whole world is about smelling. You’ve got a long snout that has 200 million scent receptors in it, and you have wet nostrils that attract and trap scent molecules, and your nostrils even have slits so you can take big nosefuls of air.

Everything is about smell for you. So one day, you stop in your tracks with a revelation. You look at your human owner and you think, “What is it like to have the pitiful, impoverished nose of a human? (Laughter) What is it like when you take a feeble little noseful of air? How can you not know that there’s a cat 100 yards away, or that your neighbor was on this very spot 6 hours ago?” 

4:09 So because we’re humans, we’ve never experienced that world of smell, so we don’t miss it, because we are firmly settled into our umwelt.

But the question is, do we have to be stuck there? So as a neuroscientist, I’m interested in the way that technology might expand our umwelt, and how that’s going to change the experience of being human.

4:37 We already know that we can marry our technology to our biology, because there are hundreds of thousands of people walking around with artificial hearing and artificial vision.

So the way this works is, you take a microphone and you digitize the signal, and you put an electrode strip directly into the inner ear.

Or, with the retinal implant, you take a camera and you digitize the signal, and then you plug an electrode grid directly into the optic nerve.

And as recently as 15 years ago, there were a lot of scientists who thought these technologies wouldn’t work. Why? It’s because these technologies speak the language of Silicon Valley, and it’s not exactly the same dialect as our natural biological sense organs. But the fact is that it works; the brain figures out how to use the signals just fine.

5:30 How do we understand that?  Here’s the big secret: Your brain is not hearing or seeing any of this.

Your brain is locked in a vault of silence and darkness inside your skull. All it ever sees are electrochemical signals that come in along different data cables, and this is all it has to work with, and nothing more. Now, amazingly, the brain is really good at taking in these signals and extracting patterns and assigning meaning, so that it takes this inner cosmos and puts together a story of this, your subjective world.

6:15 But here’s the key point: Your brain doesn’t know, and it doesn’t care, where it gets the data from. ( A very simplistic conjecture?)

Whatever information comes in, it just figures out what to do with it. And this is a very efficient kind of machine. It’s essentially a general purpose computing device, and it just takes in everything and figures out what it’s going to do with it, and that, I think, frees up Mother Nature to tinker around with different sorts of input channels.

6:48 So I call this the P.H. model of evolution, and I don’t want to get too technical here, but P.H. stands for Potato Head, and I use this name to emphasize that all these sensors that we know and love, like our eyes and our ears and our fingertips, these are merely peripheral plug-and-play devices: You stick them in, and you’re good to go.

The brain figures out what to do with the data that comes in. And when you look across the animal kingdom, you find lots of peripheral devices. So snakes have heat pits with which to detect infrared, and the ghost knifefish has electroreceptors, and the star-nosed mole has this appendage with 22 fingers on it with which it feels around and constructs a 3D model of the world, and many birds have magnetite so they can orient to the magnetic field of the planet. So what this means is that nature doesn’t have to continually redesign the brain. Instead, with the principles of brain operation established, all nature has to worry about is designing new peripherals.

8:00 What this means is this: The lesson that surfaces is that there’s nothing really special or fundamental about the biology that we come to the table with.

It’s just what we have inherited from a complex road of evolution. But it’s not what we have to stick with, and our best proof of principle of this comes from what’s called sensory substitution. And that refers to feeding information into the brain via unusual sensory channels, and the brain just figures out what to do with it.

8:34 Now, that might sound speculative, but the first paper demonstrating this was published in the journal Nature in 1969.

A scientist named Paul Bach-y-Rita put blind people in a modified dental chair, and he set up a video feed, and he put something in front of the camera, and then you would feel that poked into your back with a grid of solenoids. So if you wiggle a coffee cup in front of the camera, you’re feeling that in your back, and amazingly, blind people got pretty good at being able to determine what was in front of the camera just by feeling it in the small of their back.

Now, there have been many modern incarnations of this. The sonic glasses take a video feed right in front of you and turn that into a sonic landscape, so as things move around, and get closer and farther, it sounds like “Bzz, bzz, bzz.” It sounds like a cacophony, but after several weeks, blind people start getting pretty good at understanding what’s in front of them just based on what they’re hearing.

And it doesn’t have to be through the ears: this system uses an electrotactile grid on the forehead, so whatever’s in front of the video feed, you’re feeling it on your forehead.

Why the forehead? Because you’re not using it for much else.

9:50 The most modern incarnation is called the brainport, and this is a little electrogrid that sits on your tongue, and the video feed gets turned into these little electrotactile signals, and blind people get so good at using this that they can throw a ball into a basket, or they can navigate complex obstacle courses. They can come to see through their tongue.

Now, that sounds completely insane, right? But remember, all vision is electrochemical signals coursing around in your brain.

Your brain doesn’t know where the signals come from. It just figures out what to do with them.

10:33 So my interest in my lab is sensory substitution for the deaf, and this is a project I’ve undertaken with a graduate student in my lab, Scott Novich, who is spearheading this for his thesis.

And here is what we wanted to do: we wanted to make it so that sound from the world gets converted in some way so that a deaf person can understand what is being said.

And we wanted to do this, given the power and ubiquity of portable computing, we wanted to make sure that this would run on cell phones and tablets, and also we wanted to make this a wearable, something that you could wear under your clothing.

So here’s the concept. So as I’m speaking, my sound is getting captured by the tablet, and then it’s getting mapped onto a vest that’s covered in vibratory motors, just like the motors in your cell phone.

So as I’m speaking, the sound is getting translated to a pattern of vibration on the vest. Now, this is not just conceptual: this tablet is transmitting Bluetooth, and I’m wearing the vest right now. So as I’m speaking — (Applause) — the sound is getting translated into dynamic patterns of vibration. I’m feeling the sonic world around me.

So, we’ve been testing this with deaf people now, and it turns out that after just a little bit of time, people can start feeling, they can start understanding the language of the vest.

12:13 So this is Jonathan. He’s 37 years old. He has a master’s degree. He was born profoundly deaf, which means that there’s a part of his umwelt that’s unavailable to him. So we had Jonathan train with the vest for four days, two hours a day, and here he is on the fifth day.

 Scott Novich: You.

David Eagleman: So Scott says a word, Jonathan feels it on the vest, and he writes it on the board.

SN: Where. Where.

 DE: Jonathan is able to translate this complicated pattern of vibrations into an understanding of what’s being said.

SN: Touch. Touch.

DE: Now, he’s not doing this — (Applause) — Jonathan is not doing this consciously, because the patterns are too complicated, but his brain is starting to unlock the pattern that allows it to figure out what the data mean, and our expectation is that, after wearing this for about 3 months, he will have a direct perceptual experience of hearing in the same way that when a blind person passes a finger over braille, the meaning comes directly off the page without any conscious intervention at all.

Now, this technology has the potential to be a game-changer, because the only other solution for deafness is a cochlear implant, and that requires an invasive surgery. And this can be built for 40 times cheaper than a cochlear implant, which opens up this technology globally, even for the poorest countries.

13:59 Now, we’ve been very encouraged by our results with sensory substitution, but what we’ve been thinking a lot about is sensory addition.

How could we use a technology like this to add a completely new kind of sense, to expand the human umvelt?

For example, could we feed real-time data from the Internet directly into somebody’s brain, and can they develop a direct perceptual experience?  (Kind of no filtering processes? Will the brain not succumb to overcrowding of data?)

14:26 So here’s an experiment we’re doing in the lab.

A subject is feeling a real-time streaming feed from the Net of data for 5 seconds. Then, two buttons appear, and he has to make a choice. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He makes a choice, and he gets feedback after one second.

Now, here’s the thing: The subject has no idea what all the patterns mean, but we’re seeing if he gets better at figuring out which button to press.

He doesn’t know that what we’re feeding is real-time data from the stock market, and he’s making buy and sell decisions. (Laughter)

And the feedback is telling him whether he did the right thing or not. And what we’re seeing is, can we expand the human umvelt so that he comes to have, after several weeks, a direct perceptual experience of the economic movements of the planet.

So we’ll report on that later to see how well this goes. (Laughter)

15:21 Here’s another thing we’re doing: During the talks this morning, we’ve been automatically scraping Twitter for the TED2015 hashtag, and we’ve been doing an automated sentiment analysis, which means, are people using positive words or negative words or neutral?

And while this has been going on, I have been feeling this, and so I am plugged in to the aggregate emotion of thousands of people in real time, and that’s a new kind of human experience, because now I can know how everyone’s doing and how much you’re loving this. (Laughter)  It’s a bigger experience than a human can normally have.

16:10 We’re also expanding the umvelt of pilots.

So in this case, the vest is streaming 9 different measures from this quadcopter, so pitch and yaw and roll and orientation and heading, and that improves this pilot’s ability to fly it.

It’s essentially like he’s extending his skin up there, far away.

16:31 And that’s just the beginning. What we’re envisioning is taking a modern cockpit full of gauges and instead of trying to read the whole thing, you feel it.

We live in a world of information now, and there is a difference between accessing big data and experiencing it.  (Awesome. We can view 9 interactions, r trends but have hard time comprehending the global meaning) 

16:53 So I think there’s really no end to the possibilities on the horizon for human expansion.

Just imagine an astronaut being able to feel the overall health of the International Space Station, or, for that matter, having you feel the invisible states of your own health, like your blood sugar and the state of your microbiome, or having 360-degree vision or seeing in infrared or ultraviolet.

17:22 So the key is this: As we move into the future, we’re going to increasingly be able to choose our own peripheral devices.

We no longer have to wait for Mother Nature’s sensory gifts on her timescales, but instead, like any good parent, she’s given us the tools that we need to go out and define our own trajectory.

So the question now is, how do you want to go out and experience your universe?


17:53 (Applause)

Chris Anderson: Can you feel it?

DE: Yeah.  Actually, this was the first time I felt applause on the vest. It’s nice. It’s like a massage. (Laughter)

CA: Twitter’s going crazy. Twitter’s going mad. So that stock market experiment. This could be the first experiment that secures its funding forevermore, right, if successful?

DE: Well, that’s right, I wouldn’t have to write to NIH anymore.

CA: Well look, just to be skeptical for a minute, I mean, this is amazing, but isn’t most of the evidence so far that sensory substitution works, not necessarily that sensory addition works? I mean, isn’t it possible that the blind person can see through their tongue because the visual cortex is still there, ready to process, and that that is needed as part of it?

DE: That’s a great question. We actually have no idea what the theoretical limits are of what kind of data the brain can take in.

The general story, though, is that it’s extraordinarily flexible. So when a person goes blind, what we used to call their visual cortex gets taken over by other things, by touch, by hearing, by vocabulary.

So what that tells us is that the cortex is kind of a one-trick pony. It just runs certain kinds of computations on things.

And when we look around at things like braille, for example, people are getting information through bumps on their fingers. So I don’t think we have any reason to think there’s a theoretical limit that we know the edge of.

CA: If this checks out, you’re going to be deluged.

There are so many possible applications for this. Are you ready for this?

What are you most excited about, the direction it might go?

DE: I mean, I think there’s a lot of applications here. In terms of beyond sensory substitution, the things I started mentioning about astronauts on the space station, they spend a lot of their time monitoring things, and they could instead just get what’s going on, because what this is really good for is multidimensional data.

The key is this: Our visual systems are good at detecting blobs and edges, but they’re really bad at what our world has become, which is screens with lots and lots of data.

We have to crawl that with our attentional systems. So this is a way of just feeling the state of something, just like the way you know the state of your body as you’re standing around.

So I think heavy machinery, safety, feeling the state of a factory, of your equipment, that’s one place it’ll go right away.

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared athis link on FB
As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. “Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.”
He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led…|By David Eagleman




October 2020

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