Originally released by Pablo Stanley in 2013, this comic strip
Mankind may be on the verge of making the human experience far more rich than we can possibly even imagine at this point. We may soon be able to buy extra senses! How insanely awesome is that!!?? [SEE VIDEO BELOW]
Taste, touch, smell, sight & hearing are the 5 traditionally recognized senses in human beings. But is there more? Could there be MUCH more that we don’t have the sensual receptors to perceive? Of course! It is common knowledge that there is a plethora of input that the human senses don’t perceive.
So, what if we COULD perceive them? What if, by using technology, we were able to create additional senses for the human experience? What if we could have the range of smell that dogs have? Or what if we could perceive sonar waves as bats do? Or what if we could have 360 degree vision? How incredibly amazing, (or scary), would it be to experience this world with more than our standard God given set of human sensors?
Are we ready to play God?
David Eagleman thinks so and the work he is doing could change the human experience in deeply profound ways!
“Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.” For example, as humans we perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. Eagleman wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to develop a new interface to take in previously unseen information about the world around us.
He calls this device a Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer, or VEST. Essentially, a cell phone sends data – any sort of data – to little motors which cause the vest’s wearer to feel pressure in different parts of the torso. You could set your data to give you something like 360-degree vision. Or infrared. Or echolocation.
In Eagleman’s laboratory, he used VEST as a sensory substitution system for deaf individuals by converting sound into touch. But Eagleman suggests you could also feed in real-time weather data from the internet. You wouldn’t have to think about it, just walk around all day and let your brain subconsciously figure out how to make sense of the patterns.
“What if I could feel that and predict better than a weatherman?” he asks, “or receive input on the stock market while doing stock trades.”
He proposed that this Vest works via the MPH model of evolution — that is, the Mr. Potato Head model. The brain is a signal processor, and it doesn’t care where its electric signals come from; it’s like a computer that accepts different kinds of peripheral devices. Humans have eyes, ears and such; snakes have heat pits; birds have magnetite, which helps them orient to a magnetic field. Brains get electrical signals from all those sense organs, and they figure out how to interpret those signals.
So essentially it doesn’t matter what sensory system is used, like a dutiful computer programmer, the brain will find a way to run that code. The more we take advantage of this, the more we expand the potential of our perceptual world.
Watch the video below, (it is a fascinating talk), and let us know what you think. Is this absolutely amazing or is this dangerous territory to be entering? What are the potential implications of this sort of technology?
Personally I am highly excited by the possibilities, but I am interested to hear your opinions about this. Please share what you think and feel in the comments section below. Are we ready for this???