Obama’s $100-million brain-mapping initiative

In the next ten years, the U.S. government will be spending $100 million to map the human brain. Just like we mapped the human genome, and are already seeing a great return on the investment even though the truly exciting technologies (personalized medicine, etc.) are barely here yet, the government hopes the brain-mapping initiative will yield many benefits to science and business.

The Human Brain

The Human Brain

The first business benefits will likely be in the medical field. With a more thorough understanding of the brain’s functions, doctors should be able to better treat diseases and conditions like Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. If your business is in the medical field, be on the lookout for improved drugs and treatments for brain disorders. Think about looking for health benefits for your employees that include new treatments for brain disorders, as well.

Mapping the brain should also yield tremendous results in the area of mind control of electronics. Like we mentioned in the previous post, more natural controls for our electronics are just around the corner. This year it’s magical armbands – next decade it’ll be a headband. Amputees are already using mind-controlled prosthetic limbs with great success. Better understanding of the brain should lead to more fine-grained control and the capture of more complex thought processes.

The next wave will likely be improved AIs. As we understand how our brains work, we should be able to replicate them more exactly in artificial beings. If you think Siri is cool, wait until you have Jarvis (Iron Man’s personal assistant, if you didn’t see The Avengers). We’ll be able to offload annoying mental tasks, like counting calories and taking notes in meetings, to our digital assistants.

After that, who knows? If the brain mapping project achieves even one of these outcomes, it will have been a rousing success. For now, stay tuned for technology news and keep taking advantage of the innovations that come down the pike.

By Sharon Campbell

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