February #futrchat – The Future of Mind and Body

Kristin: How might advances in our knowledge about neuroscience and physiology be translated to how we use our minds and bodies in the future?

According to Rose (2007), significant technological outcomes might include:

  1. development of human-machine interfaces, implanted chips and prostheses and methods of focussed transcranial brain stimulation
  2. repair of damaged spinal cord and possibly brain lesions via the use of stem cells, though not necessarily embryonic stem cells
  3. increased use of brain imaging techniques both for diagnostic and prognostic purposes and surveillance
  4. increased use of ‘predictive’ genetic testing for neurological and psychiatric disorders, raising new ethical and social concerns
  5. new and better targeted psychoactive drugs to treat neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s as well as depression, anxiety and related conditions, based on greater insights into these disorders through advances in neurogenetics and neurochemistry
  6. widespread use of ‘protective’ drugs to prevent neurodegeneration, along the lines of the current use of statins in regulating cholesterol metabolism and thus reducing the risk of atherosclerosis
  7. new generations of cognition and performance-enhancing drugs, with concomitant debates about their use and regulation
  8. increasingly disputed borderlines between ‘normal’ and abnormal’ behaviour and its treatment
  9. greater use of neuroscientific evidence in legal proceedings , with revivals of long-standing debates over ‘mad’ versus ‘bad’ and the appropriate responses to each.
  10. potential applications of neuroscience to improving approaches to child development and early learning

The New York Times Bestseller, The Brain that Changes itself by Norman Doidge was discussed by futurists and positive psychology is in the news locally here as Adelaide has just kicked-off a Thinker-in-Residence program with Prof Martin Seligman. Recent articles have challenged whether  the internet is changing our brain, from The Edge’s question in 2010 on Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? to controversies about Prof Susan Greenfield’s ideas on internet addiction and brain effects. On a bigger scale, understanding the mind and body may also open up new ways of thinking about designing spaces and the way we live.

So what might this mean for the future? February’s #futrchat will explore the following areas that might benefit (or not) from better understanding of mind and body connections:

  1. What is normal? How might normal continue into the future? Child development, adult development, factors affecting personality, enhancement, what makes us ‘I’ and understanding cognitive bias.
  2. Can the mind be fixed? What is healthy? Preventative health, diagnostics, disease management, brain stimulation, drug development and what it means for disability and depression
  3. Can mind be enhanced? What is mind in relation to body? Physical effects on development of mind, effects of mediation, drug development and well-being
  4. What is experience and learning? The mobile device as memory prothesis, brain plasticity, learning, attention, wisdom, mind-machine interfaces and can we quantify intuition?
  5. Are the potential downsides important? – transient personality and identity, control of messages and mind, equity, diversity.
  6. What might it mean if we all understand our minds better? Impact of development of mind on community, services for the future, designing spaces, structures of how we govern and organise, technologies.

Join us for #futrchat this Thursday 16th Feb EST 4-5pm, GMT 9-10pm and AEDT Fri 8-9am.

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