7 recent mind bending technologies that are altering what it means to be human

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, Staff Writer

  1. DNA editing

A new technology called CRISPR lets geneticists edit the human or any other organism’s DNA (chemical which carries code for how we will turn out to be physically and mentally). Think of it as a genetic scissor. Its applications are endless, ranging from disease resistance crops to designer babies, yes, you heard it right, designer human babies.

 

  1. Artificial Olfaction

Research in the area of e-sensing or artificial replication of the human sense organs has been on for quite a few decades. E-nose a device that can detect odours and flavours is already used in some industries (for eg for quality control in the food industry) and is now being developed for medical applications. Ground-breaking.

 

  1. Super Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has been around for quite some time but did we ever think that it would get real to the point that it would outclass our actual existing reality. For an article in TechCrunch the writer experimented between standing at the edge of a tower in the VR Minecraft game and compared it to standing on the edge of an actual mountain in Norway. He reported greater feelings of dizziness and vertigo in the Virtual Reality game. Let that sink in.

 

  1. Emotional Surveillance

In China an “emotional surveillance” system is allowing supervisors to scrutinize employees’ brainwaves for signs of distress. Lightweight sensors embedded in workers’ hats or helmets wirelessly transmit the wearer’s brainwave data to a computer. Then, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms scan the data, looking for outliers that could indicate anxiety or rage. Wow.

 

  1. Digital Afterlife

This might sound right out a Black Mirror episode, but this is true. According to tech website futurism.com, a digital afterlife industry has cropped up, which can include online memorial services or even re-creation algorithms that attempt to write messages and posts in the dead person’s voice. Feel weirded out yet?

  1. Artificial Imagination

And you though artificial olfaction was weird. AI (Artificial Intelligence), till now was very good at identifying things, but not very good at creating things. Creation requires imagination. The solution came to a PhD student, Ian Goodfellow during an academic argument with his friend at a bar. As a result of that eureka moment, now two AI systems can spar with each other to create ultra-realistic original images or sounds, something machines have never been able to do before. Effectively creating non-human, artificial imagination. I need to start having better conversations while having a cold one.

 

  1. Iron Man Suit

British inventor Richard Browning recently set a Guinness World Record for flying a body-controlled jet-engine-powered suit that he built in his garage, over a lake in Reading, England, reaching a speed of 32.02 miles per hour. It is propelled by 6 micro gas turbines mounted on the arms and back. Iron man suit is here. I repeat. Iron man suit is here. Search him on YouTube to watch the super smooth video of Richard Browning, flying.

 

 

 

Advertisements

10 indications that you’re overthinking stuff

Shivangi Srivastava, Freelance Contributor

giphy (20)
Do things keep playing in your head on repeat mode?
Are you always trying to crack some secret code?
Does your sleep ditch you at night?
Are you constantly worrying about your future?

To think about things or situations in life is necessary but when ‘thinking’ goes overboard, that’s when we start facing problems in life. Over-thinking is a state of constant worrying, where our mind starts to work extra hard, unnecessarily.
Here are 10 indications that will help you understand if you’re over thinking it:

1) You’re hesitant when it comes to giving a voice to your opinions.

giphy (12)
You may find it very difficult to share your thoughts and opinions regarding a certain topic or situation because you fear that people will JUDGE you for how you think and for the kind of choices you’ve made or are currently making in life.

2) All the possibilities are only assessed as either ‘BAD’ or ‘WORSE’.

giphy (13)
For you, ‘WORST-CASE SCENARIOS’ are the only possible scenarios. You may find yourself focusing too much on all the things that can possibly go wrong. Good outcomes are just a matter of luck for you. Also, you tend to be over critical about yourself. People who overthink rarely are able to see their own positive sides because they’re too busy evaluating themselves on their negatives.

3) It seems as if the whole world is conspiring against you.

giphy (14)
You may feel as if people around you observe all the things that you do and judge you for it. It may seem as if everybody around you is talking about you, is criticizing your actions and has formed strong opinions AGAINST you.

4) You believe that one must know ‘EVERYTHING’ in order to understand you.

giphy (15)
You try to include all the possible details while telling somebody about anything. In your opinion, missing out on any piece of information would mean that the message was not conveyed exactly how you wanted it to be and now people won’t understand you and may form negative opinions about you.

5) Creative skills are mostly used in decoding ‘HIDDEN’ messages which may not exist at all.

giphy (16)
Being an over-thinker, it is possible for you to consume your energy in looking for underlying meanings for every word that you hear. You may find yourself constantly worrying if somebody’s motive was to indirectly tell or indicate something to you while conversing with you.

6) You cross-check the messages you’re about to send multiple times.

giphy (17)
It takes you a lot of time to send a message to somebody. You keep going through the messages, again and again, deleting or editing its content. You have the notion of sending an error-free or so-called ‘perfect message’ so that the person on the receiving end does not take you for a dumb individual.

7) Maladaptive daydreaming
giphy (18)
As an over thinker, you experience frequent and intrusive daydreams that can disrupt your everyday tasks and quality of life. Certain situations are often stuck in repeat mode inside your head or you start imagining things that have no end to them and eventually find it very difficult to come to reality and do your daily tasks.

8) You take ‘LITTLE’ things very ‘SERIOUSLY’.
giphy (19)
While having a conversation with somebody, you may find yourself taking little things very seriously. There may be times when people are just talking or discussing things on a very general level but you might take things personally and feel disturbed. It sometimes gets a little difficult to convince you that everything’s okay because you usually want every piece of information to make up your mind.

9) Your behaviour and actions are mostly based on your ‘ASSUMPTIONS’.
giphy (21)
The term ‘over-thinking’ itself suggests thinking more than required; thinking more than there is to think actually. Over-thinkers usually pre-assume a lot of things (basically, jumping to conclusions) and later are found constantly worrying about things that may or may not exist. This eventually leads them to behave oddly around people.

10) Anxiety knocks and blows good night’s sleep away.
giphy (22)
Overthinking often generates anxiety and results in panic attacks. This anxiety holds you back and disrupts your normal functioning. Messing up one thing might mean messing up the entire thing, in your opinion. You keep ruminating about it and thus, face trouble sleeping.

 

 

 

 

10 Neuro-psychology Researches that’ll change the way you look at the world

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, staff writer

Here are 10 recent neuroscience and psychology researches that’ll transform the way you look at and perceive the world.

  1. Is your thought process really a private phenomenon?

2

Scientists in Germany used pattern recognition software to predict, from functional magnetic resonance imaging of people’s brains, whether each person had secretly decided to add or subtract two numbers he was looking at. The computer correctly predicted the decision more often than not. What’s stopping a super computer from surveilling our brain?

 

  1. Our brain is capable of beautiful things

5

Some people have been brought up in hate and are taught to despise the world (see: terrorists and xenophobes) but a new study, from the University of Zurich, reports that having just a few positive exchanges with a person from an outside group can trigger neuronal changes in the brain that cause someone to become more empathetic towards strangers from an outside group.

 

  1. You can train your brain to change the quality of your life

9

Neuroscientists at Oxford University recently discovered a neurobiological mechanism that might explain how one can overcome apathy and stay active and motivated.  They hypothesize that anyone who is healthy can change the functional connectivity of his or her brain by consciously changing habits of behavior and patterns of thinking. Because the brain is plastic—your mindset, explanatory styles, and predisposition to be motivated or apathetic are never fixed.

 

  1. The brain has a separate, small beating heart, all for itself

10

A team led by Prof. Ed Wu at the University of Hong Kong revealed that low frequency (1Hz) oscillations in the hippocampus help to synchronize activity in the brain. They used optogenetics and resting-state fMRI to explore the role of the slow hippocampal-cortical oscillatory activity in controlling and connecting different areas of the brain.

 

  1. Stress can actually change the structure of your brain; and not for the better

8

Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that chronic stress triggers long-term changes in brain structure and function. Their findings might explain why young people who are exposed to chronic stress early in life are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and mood disorders later in life, as well as learning difficulties.

 

  1. There was a marked increase in the number of suicides following Robin William’s suicide

4

A new study revealed that there was a 10 percent increase in suicides in the months following Robin Williams’ death. Researchers report, significantly, there was a 32 percent increase in suffocation suicides in the 5 months following Williams’ death by the same method. This is a known psychological phenomenon with the rates of suicides in general population increasing after most high-profile suicides.

 

  1. People who daydream may be intellectually advanced

7

People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering. Eric Schumacher and his team at Georgia Tech found that people who report frequent daydreaming score higher on creative and intellectual ability and have measurably more effective brains than those who don’t. Apparently, the smarter you are, the more you daydream. Dream on!

 

  1. Emotions can alter your ability to learn and perceive

giphy (3)

Educational situations where students feel stressed, shamed, or just uncomfortable can actually make it more difficult for them to learn, increasing negative emotions and sparking a vicious cycle that may leave some children reluctant to attend class. Research is revealing why, as the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system has the ability to open up or shut off access to learning and memory. When under stress or anxiety, the brain blocks access to higher processing and stops forming new connections, making it difficult or impossible to learn.

 

  1. Dopamine is a magic liquid running inside us and it becomes active when we experience new things

3

Researchers have found that novelty in the world around us causes the dopamine system in the brain to become activated, sending the chemical throughout the brain. Dopamine is often regarded as the “feel good” chemical, scientists have now shown that it actually plays a much bigger role, encouraging feelings of motivation and prompting the brain to appreciate and learn about new and novel stimuli in the surroundings. Really, they should be selling this stuff on amazon.

 

  1. Cognitive Offloading: How the Internet is Increasingly Taking Over Human Memory

6

Researchers from UC Santa Cruz and the University of Illinois report that our ever-increasing reliance on the internet and our ease of access to new information is affecting our ability to learn and recall facts from memory, as well as impeding our ability to solve problems. Basically, the internet is making us dumber.