Some days ago, we had the chance to listen and interact with Mariano Sigman about neuroscience, cognitive science and technological developments.
The talk was started with one of the frontiers that science broke. According to Sigman, our thoughts are our private territory since no one can know what we are thinking. However, this principle is about to change.
He gave us examples with optical illusions, where what we saw was not really being projected on the screen and even changed forms. This is because our sensory system transmits to our brain how it changes reality, but not reality in itself. Although the external world does not change, the subjective thinking of each of us does. Also, only a small part of what we see of the world goes into the conscience and if a slight modification is made, we would hardly notice it. The stimulus that enters to our brain leaves unconsciously in our mind signs that can be seen in brain experiments.
If a person is shown a stimulus, we cannot know whether he saw it or not, because of what was mentioned before that the brain is our private world. Nevertheless, today’s technological advances related to neuroscience, are allowing us to analyze the brain and know if the stimulus reaches it in a conscious or unconscious way. Mariano informed that the challenge is knowing whether we could ever decode a person’s thinking, deducing what he thinks from how his brain reacts. The possible development of a code to separate dozens of thousands of mental states, know what verbs or nouns are crossing the human mind in a certain moment, is being considered.
We continued the talk surprising us with “revolutions” that the technological and scientific advances he exposed. As an example: communicating with people who don’t do so since they can’t activate their muscles, know what a person dreams about and if anaesthesia is working correctly in operations.
He also introduced the concept of hypnosis: an altered state of consciousness that is used in many experiments to know how the mind works and if there exists some way to manipulate it. We learned about the human computation: we are inferential beings, that is to say that with only seeing something for a few seconds, we already have an almost complete formed idea of the object. We wonder: how could we programme a machine to do that? **The amazement of our thoughts is that we can do a lot of things without even knowing how to do them. **
We are grateful for both the visit of Mariano Sigman and all the attendees and we really hope you all enjoyed the conference as much as we did.