Monday, March 08, 2010

Luc Reid on Neuroscience Fiction

brain scanLuc Reid has an interesting article in the latest issue of Clarkesworld Magazine - "Future Brains: Neuroscience Fiction versus Neuroscience Fiction".
Science fiction has had brains on the brain at least since Dr. Frankenstein installed one in his monster. Over the years science fiction has depicted technologies like mind control (in Star Trek, for example), instant learning (The Matrix), telepathy (Robert Heinlein's Time for the Stars), and transferring memories and skills (The Dollhouse). While some of these technologies may eventually prove to be possible, others are extremely unlikely to ever work based on what we now know about the brain — because our own minds are much stranger territory than we ever used to imagine they were.
Go check it out if you are interested in the real science behind copying memories, mind control, and telepathy.

Image: National Cancer Institute Visuals Online: Color slide of a single image of a human brain using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Shows a bright blue color where brain cancer metastasizes in the occipital lobe.
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10 comments:

Arvind Mishra said...

Nice info !
Don't you think Peggy that many of the cyber punk stories may also qualify for the neuro category?

j. w. bjerk said...

Great link. Explaining that the brain is "hardware AND software" is well expressed, and illuminates a lot.

I can imagine some interesting stories more or less based on this understanding of the brain.

The idea that memories can be altered/erased, but only the memories that a person is currently remembering is a great sort of catch, where upon could hang a story.

Peggy said...

Arvind: I do think a lot of cyberpunk stories could be considered "neuro" fiction - uploaded intelligences and recorded memories both are featured.

j.w.: The "only erase memories as you recall them" was used in at least one story I read (maybe Spider Robinson?). It wasn't a crucial plot point, more part of the explanation of how the technology was working. I agree that it could be used as an interesting twist.

Luc Reid said...

Thanks for the mention, Peggy. J.W., I think you're right, and I hope we'll see more of these kinds of stories. There are some new frontiers here that could stand being explored!

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