Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inception Part 4: Science Breakthroughs | Plus Ultra Technologies/30 steps

Inception Part 4: Science Breakthroughs

What does science have to say about dreams and about events in the film Inception?

Is it correct to assume that there are two levels of science knowledge?  Is it possible that government military research generations ahead of mainline science?  The truth is that we do not know.  But there is no doubt that the military has access to technology that is years ahead of anything in the civilian research projects.  To guess how far ahead is totally speculative.  Conspiracists, would be the ones to make these guesses.  The guesses range from 50 years ahead to a decade ahead.  And scientists are carefully watched so as not to reveal any information on these black projects.  All the evidence is anecdotal.  But if the government did have such advanced technology, would they tell us?  This video may interest you.  If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link:

If this statement attributed to Ben Rich is true, then we suggest that you view all the technology we will show you and imagine it what it would be like in fifty years time.

This is a phrase coined by Psychology professor Tom Mitchellat Carnegie-Mellon University.  He had an interview withComputerworld on Febraury 2010, asking him about this research inmachine learning.  Dr. Mitchell recently convinced Carnegie-Mellon to begin a machine learning department.  What is machine learning?  Here is the best definition we found:
...a branch of artificial intelligence, is a scientific discipline that is concerned with the design and development of algorithms that allow computers to evolve behaviors based on empirical data, such as from sensor data or databases. A major focus of machine learning research is to automatically learn to recognize complex patterns and make intelligent decisions based on data; the difficulty lies in the fact that the set of all possible behaviors given all possible inputs is too large to be covered by the set of observed examples (training data). Hence the learner must generalize from the given examples, so as to be able to produce a useful output in new cases.
Tom M. Mitchell
If you are interested in learning more about machine learning clickhere.  In this Computerworld interview Dr. Mitchell was asked questions about his experiments with computers learning to read thoughts from a human brain.  Already he has been able to achieve this.  He has found some universal places where the brain behaves in the same way when it comes to words like "hammer."  Thus by reading the images from the brain using a technology called fMRI (functional MRI), the computer can "know" that the person is thinking about a hammer.  This research is just at the beginnings but great advancements are being made.

In the film Inception there is a machine that is able to network people into each others dreams.  To some this might seem like total fiction but not in the mind of Dr. Mitchell.  When asked whether people could be networked to share information from their minds so that both could know their thoughts he stated,
That's not too far out. There are certain medical patients who are "locked in," who don't have the ability to speak and can't move. It's very tedious to try to communicate. A number of people are working on brain-computer interfaces, devices that can allow a person to have their thoughts decoded.
One would imagine that the military would be very interested in this technology.  Imagine having soldiers that acted as a "hive" working together in ways undreamed of based on information being received from each others minds in a combat situation.  Of course military robots could act in a similar fashion but with less sophistication at this point.  Watch this video on his research.  If you cannot see the embedded video click this link:

"There is no science fiction anymore. All the science fiction I read in high school we're doing." Paul Wolpe Ph.D.

BCI Brain Computer Interface
The progress of any kind of Inception machine would depend on a very sophisticated BCI.  This research is ongoing, although the public progress seems still primitive.  In another interview byComputerworld in May of 2009, with Dr. Taylor Dawn of the FES Center.  This is her vision of where the research is going:
With all the advancements in technology miniaturization and wireless communication, we should be able to eventually shrink the racks of equipment we use in the lab and make all the processors small enough to carry around on a wheelchair or even small enough to implant in the body.

Already the researchers in this area like Dr. Mitchell are concerned about privacy issues with the advancements in mind reading technology enough to write articles about it. Dr. Mitchell wrote a piece entitled Mining Our Reality in December of 2009 issue of Science.
If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link:

If you cannot see this embedded video here is the link:!

It makes sense that if this technology can be used to read the mind while it is "awake" then it would also be useful in reading the mind when the subject is sleeping.  If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link:

Already some researchers are using robots to interpret the dreams of people by translating brain waves into actions.  Professors Fernando Orellana and Brendan Burns from Union College, NY have done research in this area.  Orellana states:
Using recorded brainwave activity and eye movements during REM sleep to determine robot behaviours and head positions, "Sleep Waking" acts as a way to "play-back" dreams.  Through this piece we hope to investigate one of the possible human-robot relationships.
Thus if the eye moves left the robot turns its head left and so forth.  If you cannot see the embedded video inside the article here is the link:

John Dylan Haynes a Ph.D. in Neuroscience has extended this research with being able to predict by seven seconds ahead the decisions that people are going to make by using fMRI technology along with computer software.  This system promises to be used to detect lies as well as intentions.  It is being carefully studied by law enforcement and the military.  This technology comes with philosophical implications as regards free will.  Haynes in an interview with Wired magazine states:
"It's not like you're a machine. Your brain activity is the physiological substance in which your personality and wishes and desires operate," he said.
The unease people feel at the potential unreality of free will, said National Institutes of Health neuroscientist Mark Hallett, originates in a misconception of self as separate from the brain.
"That's the same notion as the mind being separate from the body -- and I don't think anyone really believes that," said Hallett. "A different way of thinking about it is that your consciousness is only aware of some of the things your brain is doing."
Hallett doubts that free will exists as a separate, independent force.
In our next installment in this series we will discuss Inception in connection with Lucid Dreaming.

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