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← [UPDATE - Human Trial] - Monkey brains 'feel' virtual objects

[UPDATE - Human Trial] - Monkey brains 'feel' virtual objects - Comments

Serdan's Avatar Comment 1 by Serdan

Awesome. When can I get a chip in my head?
Prosthetic limbs that can communicate directly with the brain are cool and all (i.e. we absolutely must develop them asap), but I am personally much more interested in the ability to interact with virtual worlds. Though having a Surrogate could also be quite interesting.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:11:19 UTC | #880513

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 2 by Rosbif

I just read the BBC article on child sacrafice before reading this. It's hard to believe that the witch doctors killing children for profit and the doctors who have manage to get monkeys to use virtual limbs come from the same millenium or even the same species.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:22:34 UTC | #880521

dwdeclare's Avatar Comment 3 by dwdeclare

has anyone asked the macaques for their permission to be used in these experiments? oh wait, they can't give it. i love how might makes right. generally, those who can exploit, will. bullies! i'm not questioning that these experiments have value for humans, only if it's moral to use sentient beings to carry them out.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:23:10 UTC | #880522

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 4 by Schrodinger's Cat

What goes on in the brain is already a virtual reality......a model of the world. So I'd expect brains to be quite maleable to 'virtual realities' in general.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:27:09 UTC | #880524

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 5 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 3 by Anonypuss

has anyone asked the macaques for their permission to be used in these experiments?

No, but then the next level up the evolutionary ladder doesn't fare any better......and is fequently used in a huge experiment called 'the economy' without prior permission.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:31:41 UTC | #880526

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 6 by KenChimp

I'm with Serdan, except I want more than simply virtual world interfacing. There is a real world out there (or as real as it gets), and the sooner humanity has the capability of enhancing/replacing our biological instruments with cybernetics the better.

I live for the advent of cybernetic implants. :-}

Memorable scene from the Sci-Fi series "Battlestar Galactica"

Brother Cavil:"In all your travels, have you ever seen a star go supernova?"

Ellen Tigh:"No."

Brother Cavil: "No? Well, I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull! With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. With ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air."

Ellen Tigh: "The five of us designed you to be as human as possible."

Brother Cavil: "I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to - I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to - I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me! I'm a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But I'm trapped in this absurd body! And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way!"

I'm not as fanatical as the fictional "Number One" from the series, but yeah. I empathize with that character's point of view.....at least sometimes. I'd be content with a temporary, removable cyber "suit" if it could allow my brain and its conscious mind to see beyond visible light spectrum and hear the entire spectrum of radio waves, or feel microwaves, etc., without my marvelous but limited biological form being destroyed in the process.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:35:59 UTC | #880530

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 7 by Bipedal Primate

@ comment 5

LOL

@ comment 6

Current sci-fi is waaay more awesome than bronze age ramblings about sky dad.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:45:44 UTC | #880532

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 8 by KenChimp

Comment 7 by Bipedal Primate :

@ comment 5

LOL

@ comment 6

Current sci-fi is waaay more awesome than bronze age ramblings about sky dad.

Amen-uh...

slap self

I mean, Right On, man!

;-}

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 17:31:26 UTC | #880579

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 9 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 3 by Anonypuss :

has anyone asked the macaques for their permission to be used in these experiments? oh wait, they can't give it. i love how might makes right. generally, those who can exploit, will. bullies! i'm not questioning that these experiments have value for humans, only if it's moral to use sentient beings to carry them out.

I find it horrifying that animals are experimented on in such a manner. No doubt someone will lecture me that it's all for a great cause, so that very rich people get bionic arms.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 17:35:51 UTC | #880581

evotruth's Avatar Comment 10 by evotruth

Comment 5 by Schrodinger's Cat -

No, but then the next level up the evolutionary ladder doesn't fare any better

What ladder? It's a branching tree! Everything alive today is at the top of the evolutionary tree.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 17:39:16 UTC | #880582

Caivs's Avatar Comment 11 by Caivs

Unless you are both vegan and never used toothpaste (tested in animals), I refuse to argue with you in defense of the morality of such an experiment by Nicolelis team. What´s wrong with you people? They are not burning the monkeys with acid nor chopping their necks to make bacon! I wish I was that monkey to use the virtual limb!

Comment 9 by AtheistEgbert :

Comment 3 by Anonypuss :

has anyone asked the macaques for their permission to be used in these experiments? oh wait, they can't give it. i love how might makes right. generally, those who can exploit, will. bullies! i'm not questioning that these experiments have value for humans, only if it's moral to use sentient beings to carry them out.

I find it horrifying that animals are experimented on in such a manner. No doubt someone will lecture me that it's all for a great cause, so that very rich people get bionic arms.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 18:23:25 UTC | #880593

Caivs's Avatar Comment 12 by Caivs

And before you ask me to volunteer for the experiment, I pose you with the question of which life is more important - human or monkey. Because I (and many others) would only volunteer if we knew the experiment was safe, i.e. was previously tested in non-human animals.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 18:28:34 UTC | #880596

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 13 by Bipedal Primate

Comment 9 by AtheistEgbert :

I find it horrifying that animals are experimented on in such a manner. No doubt someone will lecture me that it's all for a great cause, so that very rich people get bionic arms.

Or poor people who had to steal something and got their hands and feet severed as punishment. Or just the mindless hacking of of limbs during some African genocide. Or victims of mines and bombs anywhere.

It'll be expensive at first but let's hope Superman can force the Saudis to pay for it some day.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 18:30:42 UTC | #880597

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 14 by rrh1306

A computer in 1985 with no hard drive cost around 1200 dollars. (If you payed an extra 100 dollars you could get a whole 4 mb's of extra ram). Technology like this won't stay beyond the reach of the average person forever.

Comment 9 by AtheistEgbert :

Comment 3 by Anonypuss :

. No doubt someone will lecture me that it's all for a great cause, so that very rich people get bionic arms.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:26:55 UTC | #880612

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 15 by Bipedal Primate

Comment 6 by KenChimp :

I'm with Serdan, except I want more than simply virtual world interfacing. There is a real world out there (or as real as it gets), and the sooner humanity has the capability of enhancing/replacing our biological instruments with cybernetics the better.

I live for the advent of cybernetic implants. :-}

Memorable scene from the Sci-Fi series "Battlestar Galactica"

Brother Cavil:"In all your travels, have you ever seen a star go supernova?"

Ellen Tigh:"No."

Brother Cavil: "No? Well, I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull! With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. With ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air."

Ellen Tigh: "The five of us designed you to be as human as possible."

Brother Cavil: "I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to - I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to - I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me! I'm a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But I'm trapped in this absurd body! And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way!"

I'm not as fanatical as the fictional "Number One" from the series, but yeah. I empathize with that character's point of view.....at least sometimes. I'd be content with a temporary, removable cyber "suit" if it could allow my brain and its conscious mind to see beyond visible light spectrum and hear the entire spectrum of radio waves, or feel microwaves, etc., without my marvelous but limited biological form being destroyed in the process.

I wonder: If a self aware consciousness were ever to evolve out if the internet, might it be able to see gamma rays, hear X-rays and smell dark matter?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 20:46:58 UTC | #880642

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 16 by Agrajag

Comment 15 by Bipedal Primate

I wonder: If a self aware consciousness were ever to evolve out if the internet, might it be able to see gamma rays, hear X-rays and smell dark matter?

The Moody Blues were close in 1968:

THIS GARDEN UNIVERSE VIBRATES COMPLETE
SOME WE GET A SOUND SO SWEET
VIBRATIONS REACH ON UP TO BECOME LIGHT
AND THEN THRU GAMMA, OUT OF SIGHT
BETWEEN THE EYES AND EARS THERE LIE
THE SOUNDS OF COLOUR AND THE LIGHT OF A SIGH
AND TO HEAR THE SUN, WHAT A THING TO BELIEVE
BUT IT'S ALL AROUND IF WE COULD BUT PERCEIVE
TO KNOW ULTRA-VIOLET, INFRA-RED AND X-RAY
BEAUTY TO FIND IN SO MANY WAYS
TWO NOTES OF THE CHORD, THAT'S OUR FULL SCOPE
BUT TO REACH THE CHORD IS OUR LIFE'S HOPE
AND TO NAME THE CHORD IS IMPORTANT TO SOME
SO THEY GIVE IT A WORD AND THE WORD IS OM

True, there's a bit of woo in there, but it was the 60s.
Steve

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 00:18:50 UTC | #880714

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by Functional Atheist

Great comment KenChimp--I've always loved that rant by Brother Cavil, one of the finest moments of a very good, and much missed, television show.

Comment 15 by Bipedal Primate :

I wonder: If a self aware consciousness were ever to evolve out if the internet, might it be able to see gamma rays, hear X-rays and smell dark matter?

I doubt true AI will spontaneously evolve on the internet, but will rather be intentionally created, and that yes, its sensory package could in principle have abilities similar to Brother Cavil's analogies.

My bet is that AI will be at least as intelligent as humans within 20-30 years, and by the end of the century the notion that an unaugmented human would be smart enough to win a Nobel Prize will seem like a quaint anachronism. Only with cybernetic augmentation will humans have any chance of keeping up with the extraordinary machine intelligence that will exist within a few decades.

Which means that yes, something like a more psychologically balanced Hal 9000 will eventually give an acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics after his Unified Field Theory is experimentally verified by Sal 9000 and her team of augmented human assistants at Tsinghua University.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 04:17:02 UTC | #880741

andersemil's Avatar Comment 18 by andersemil

Comment 3 by Anonypuss :

has anyone asked the macaques for their permission to be used in these experiments? oh wait, they can't give it. i love how might makes right. generally, those who can exploit, will. bullies! i'm not questioning that these experiments have value for humans, only if it's moral to use sentient beings to carry them out.

Thank you, my thoughts exactly. Much as I'm thoroughly impressed by the results, I agree that it's appalling to do this kind of experiment on individuals who do not understand what they are being subjected to. Have the decency to do it on adult humans who are able to grasp the risks involved and who would like to volunteer in the name of science, either because it's just awesomely cool, or because they already suffer from some handicap or terminal illness and so don't have much to lose. I'm sure there are some; and if there aren't, don't bother. The bottom line probably is, chimps are cheaper.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 04:22:35 UTC | #880743

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 17 by Functional Atheist

Which means that yes, something like a more psychologically balanced Hal 9000 will eventually give an acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics

Is that before or after it arrives back from 2029 to kill John Connor ?

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 09:14:59 UTC | #880780

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 20 by DavidMcC

Comment 10 by evotruth

What ladder? It's a branching tree! Everything alive today is at the top of the evolutionary tree.

Well said.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 09:23:30 UTC | #880783

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 21 by drumdaddy

Monkeys will soon be able to change virtual bread into zombie flesh.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 12:20:54 UTC | #880808

littletrotsky13's Avatar Comment 22 by littletrotsky13

Comment 3 by Anonypuss :

has anyone asked the macaques for their permission to be used in these experiments? oh wait, they can't give it. i love how might makes right. generally, those who can exploit, will. bullies! i'm not questioning that these experiments have value for humans, only if it's moral to use sentient beings to carry them out.

Please don't just assume that we just pick up a monkey and start electrocuting it without thought. There's a huge amount of ethical procedure in which you have to demonstrate that it probably will not cause harm to the animals etc. which gets more convoluted the closer the relatinship to human. It's only fruit flies and nematode worms that you can experiment on willy-nilly.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 12:26:08 UTC | #880810

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Comment 23 by ANTIcarrot

Comment 22 by littletrotsky13 : Please don't just assume that we just pick up a monkey and start electrocuting it without thought.

Except you actually do - at the end of the trial at least. Euthanasia is standard policy at the end of the vast majority of trials, and pretty much all the invasive ones. Whether you use an electric chair or lethal injection doesn't make a lot of difference to the monkey.

Brain implants have significant longevity problems. Until that is solved, and last time I checked, no one knew how, then all these brain-machine interfaces are just a freaky side show with no practical benifit. Given the material advances that are likely to happen before then, we'll be using different materials and techniques, which will make this research almost completly pointless.

It strikes me as similar to killing apes in order to test wooden crash helmets, before anyone knows how to build an internal combustion engine.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 14:07:18 UTC | #880841

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 24 by Zeuglodon

How weird. I have a new idea for the next generation of game console...

Comment 20 by DavidMcC

I second that!

Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 17 by Functional Atheist

Which means that yes, something like a more psychologically balanced Hal 9000 will eventually give an acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics

Is that before or after it arrives back from 2029 to kill John Connor ?

Probably before. Nobel Prize winners have difficulty collecting their prizes when they've been deactivated.

Comment 6 by KenChimp

I second that!

Comment 3 by Anonypuss

has anyone asked the macaques for their permission to be used in these experiments? oh wait, they can't give it. i love how might makes right. generally, those who can exploit, will. bullies! i'm not questioning that these experiments have value for humans, only if it's moral to use sentient beings to carry them out.

Well, there's nothing to suggest that they're getting killed, maimed or hurt by it - electrodes have been implanted in living human brains with only slight inconvenience - so as far as animal exploitation goes, this particular example is a pretty tame affair. Reserve your anger for the greater injustices against monkeys.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:02:00 UTC | #880861

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 25 by KenChimp

I dunno about you all, but if I was a monkey, I'm sure I would find it far more entertaining to be participating in experiments in virtual reality and cybernetics than hooting, screeching and flinging poo at the neighbors in the next tree.

Hmmn. Wait a moment. On second thought....

;-}

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:12:31 UTC | #880865

neil pharr's Avatar Comment 26 by neil pharr

Do you think that would work on my wife?

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 18:58:57 UTC | #880907

SheerReason's Avatar Comment 27 by SheerReason

I'm not sure I agree with experimenting on animals. Although I can't deny the knowledge we've gained from this and other experiments such as triggering recessive genes in chickens to prove their connection to dinosaurs.

However, if we've deemed chimpanzees fit for experimentation ( noted for their behavior in zoos of throwing feces at zoo visitors ) then why not perform these experiments on Ultra-Orthodox Jews who've displayed similar behavior? ( referring to recent news story in which Ultra-Orthodox Jews threw feces at schoolchildren )

Of course, I'm not seriously suggesting that we perform experiments on humans or animals for that matter. I'm just attempting to point out the abhorrent behavior of a small group of Ultra-Orthodoxy in Israel in a recent news article.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 19:51:23 UTC | #880925

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 28 by KenChimp

Comment 23 by ANTIcarrot :

Comment 22 by littletrotsky13 : Please don't just assume that we just pick up a monkey and start electrocuting it without thought.

Except you actually do - at the end of the trial at least. Euthanasia is standard policy at the end of the vast majority of trials, and pretty much all the invasive ones. Whether you use an electric chair or lethal injection doesn't make a lot of difference to the monkey.

Brain implants have significant longevity problems. Until that is solved, and last time I checked, no one knew how, then all these brain-machine interfaces are just a freaky side show with no practical benifit. Given the material advances that are likely to happen before then, we'll be using different materials and techniques, which will make this research almost completly pointless.

It strikes me as similar to killing apes in order to test wooden crash helmets, before anyone knows how to build an internal combustion engine.

Hold on now, Tex! Holster that smoke-wagon for a spell.

Nobody is killing apes to further research in cybernetics, and with the recent interface breakthroughs, we'll probably have cybernetics without the necessity of any form of surgery soon. As to that making the current research pointless, I have to be skeptical about that. Even with those breakthroughs there is a lot of technical detail in these experiments which will still be perfectly valid.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 19:52:47 UTC | #880927

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 29 by KenChimp

Comment 27 by SheerReason :

I'm not sure I agree with experimenting on animals. Although I can't deny the knowledge we've gained from this and other experiments such as triggering recessive genes in chickens to prove their connection to dinosaurs.

However, if we've deemed chimpanzees fit for experimentation ( noted for their behavior in zoos of throwing feces at zoo visitors ) then why not perform these experiments on Ultra-Orthodox Jews who've displayed similar behavior? ( referring to recent news story in which Ultra-Orthodox Jews threw feces at schoolchildren )

Of course, I'm not seriously suggesting that we perform experiments on humans or animals for that matter. I'm just attempting to point out the abhorrent behavior of a small group of Ultra-Orthodoxy in Israel in a recent news article.

Hmmn. I vote we use politicians instead. >:-}

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 19:55:08 UTC | #880928

dofbubble's Avatar Comment 30 by dofbubble

This video should put a lot of things into proper perspective: Time Scales / Order of Magnitudes of Time We are but a speck on the cosmic map... But don't let that depress you, since we have ants to tread upon.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 21:54:34 UTC | #880957