Obama's Brain Mapping Project

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Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby Project Willow » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:14 pm


All the President's Neuroscientists
How Obama's Brain Activity Map Could Be Mind Control

President Obama's proposed Brain Activity Map Project could lead to cures for Alzheimer's, autism, and schizophrenia. But members of Congress should read the fine print when the $3 billion proposal hits their desks next month — because the project might also provide the first viable means of remotely controlling the human mind.

By Luke Dittrich
February 21, 2013, 7:01 AM

In 1973, during a panel discussion on the ethics of brain surgery, a Yale neurophysiologist named Jose Delgado argued that the time was ripe for the widespread use of corrective neural implants. "The question," said Dr. Delgado, "rather than, What is man? should be, What kind of man are we going to construct?" Dr. Delgado was fond of publicity stunts, and had earlier used a remotely activated neural implant to stop a charging bull in its tracks.

My grandfather, Dr. William Beecher Scoville, was also on the panel. His career as a neurosurgeon had by that time straddled five decades, and he'd witnessed a variety of once-promising treatments, such as the lobotomy and other psychosurgeries, gain widespread acceptance before falling spectacularly from grace. His experiences in the operating room had taught him firsthand the dangers of tampering with things perhaps best left un-tampered with, and knocking out an animal with the push of a button did not strike him as a novelty that would necessarily lead to the betterment of mankind. He waited for his younger colleague to finish, then responded.

"With all due respect to Dr. Delgado," he said, "I work almost entirely in humans, and we are more aware of the disastrous effects that sometimes occur in neurosurgery."

I thought about this exchange as I was reading up on President Obama's hugely ambitious, quite expensive, and yet-to-be-officially-announced Brain Activity Map Project. The first public hint of the project came during last week's State of the Union address, when Obama, after noting that the federal government's investment in the Human Genome Project during the eighties and nineties had led to a 140-fold return on investment, declared that "today our scientists are mapping the human brain," and that "now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the space race." Since then, more details have begun to trickle out. The project, which is slated to cost north of $3 billion, is already well into its planning stages, and funding for it will probably be part of next month's federal budget proposal. A handful of scientists have come forward and revealed that they have been instrumental in the project's planning. Interestingly, most of these same scientists collaborated last year on an article in the academic journal Neuron. The article is called, "The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics." There's every reason to believe that this article is a template for the soon-to-be-unveiled initiative. As such, it's worth a close read.

It begins by reiterating the ancient and confounding truth that the brain is a stubbornly opaque beast. Even with all the imaging advances of recent decades— EEGs to CTs to fMRIs to PETs and beyond — we still lack the tools to directly and meaningfully observe the fundamental neural circuitry that underpins whatever a particular brain is doing at any given moment. But there is hope on the horizon. A number of promising tools—the most promising ones still firmly in the theoretical stage of development—may soon enable us to document the activities of countless live neurons in real-time, ultimately allowing us to reconstruct "the full record of neural activity across complete neural circuits." This could offer better ways of understanding exactly how schizophrenic or autistic or other atypical brains differ from normal ones, and perhaps suggest strategies for righting them.

About halfway through the paper, the authors lay out a rough roadmap. Within five years, using existing technologies, they believe they could chart a complete functional map of a tiny-brained — it's got 302 neurons, as compared to your roughly 86 billion — nematode called C. elegans, and within ten years they believe they could do the same with the somewhat bigger-brained drosophilia fruitfly. But Obama isn't dropping space race comparisons because he thinks we have a desperate need to grok the brains of worms and bugs. The heart of the project, its final frontier, is the human brain. Within fifteen years, its planners write, they will be ready to "proceed toward primates," and then add that "we do not exclude the extension of the BAM Project to humans."

And here's where things get sketchy. The technologies required to map the brains of lower life forms won't cut it with us. Our brains are too big, too complicated. While nanoprobes and other extensions of existing technology might get us part of the way, in order to get deep inside we'll have to invent an entirely new class of what the Neuron paper calls Wireless and Synthetic Biology Approaches. "We think that it will ultimately become feasible to deploy small wireless microcircuits, untethered in living brains, for direct monitoring of neuronal activity," the paper's authors write. A little later, they add that "potential options for a human BAM Project include wireless electronics, safely and transiently introducing engineered cells to make tight (transient) junctions with neurons for recording and possibly programmable stimulation, or a combination of these approaches."

Two things should leap out from reading the above quote. First, the redundant and distracting use of the words "transient" and "transiently," a heavy-handed way to assure us that these untethered, internal brain monitors don't have to be permanent, trust us. Second, note the reference to "possibly programmable stimulation." Let's be clear about what that means: These probes they envision injecting into human brains will not only be able to record the firing of vast networks of individual neurons, but will possibly be able to control the firing of those individual neurons as well. Later in the paper, they come back to a variant of this same point, writing that they anticipate the project will foster the "development of novel devices and strategies for fine control brain stimulation."

Of course, you could argue that these neuronal stimulators would just be more highly tuned versions of the implanted brain electrodes that the FDA already approves for the treatment of certain conditions like Parkinson's disease. There's a huge difference, though. It's one thing to give a coarse and leveling shock to a relatively huge swath of dysfunctional brain tissue. It's something else altogether to be able to wirelessly and independently stimulate every single neuron in the insanely complex intertwined circuits that make up the human brain. The Brain Activity Map Project wants to understand how our brains do what it is that they do, but it just so happens that the technology the project will develop to gain this understanding could also be used to make our brains do whatever they want. Wirelessly. From a distance. The truth is, most major scientific breakthroughs, like the human minds that give birth to them, have light and dark sides. And some of those dark sides are darker than others.

The project's leaders are not blind to this darkness. At the end of the paper, they note that the project has "potential ethical ramifications," and that these include "issues of mind-control." To assuage concerns about these ramifications, they write, it's going to be up to the scientists participating in the project to engage "diverse sets of stakeholders and the lay public early and thoughtfully." Speaking of those stakeholders, is it any surprise that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will reportedly be involved, or that Google and Microsoft have already taken part in some of the preparatory groundwork?

I'm not saying that the President's brain-mapping project is a bad idea. As he put it in his State of the Union address, it could help "unlock the answers to Alzheimer's," among other worthy goals. But I do think it's worth considering that this same project is also a DARPA-associated endeavor that could lead to the development of the first truly sci-fi caliber mind-control technology.

When Obama mentioned the statistics about the huge return on investment provided by the Human Genome Project, he was borrowing from a 2010 study that tried to break down the various ways that project had rippled through the American economy. Companies of all sorts, from ones trying to develop new cancer drugs to ones promising to help you flesh out your family tree, have ridden the genomics wave. Looking towards the future, if the Brain Activity Map Project survives the upcoming budget debate (and perhaps a much-needed ethical debate), you've got to wonder what sorts of companies will benefit from its success.

I'm going long on tinfoil.
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:23 pm

Yeah, I saw this as a mainstreaming happyface "gosh isn't this neat" of the MK paradigm. Will be monitoring very closely to see who is getting grants and board seats.
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby brainpanhandler » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:22 am

We're all familiar with the notion that once new technologies are announced to the general public, especially those with "darker sides than others", that generally means it's been a reality in some government lab for 30 years. I suspect that has become much less true with the acceleration of innovation or at least that the span of time that a technology has existed before it is introduced to us has become smaller and smaller. Nonetheless it seems inconceivable to me that darpa and/or other elements of the state have not been expending vast resources on this very technology in a race to map out at the molecular level just how the human brain works and how it might be engineered, enhanced and controlled. I mean why wouldn't they? Certainly expense is not an issue. They just print more fucking money. Moral concerns are assuaged by the argument that the russians and chinese are doing it so we have to.

I was reading recently about acquired savant syndrome. It's where a brain trauma can lead spontaneously to unlocking extraordinary and otherwise unexpected skills (based on prior to the accident knowledge and skills) in the effected.

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2 ... ius-within
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/3 ... 64835.html

What if "Wireless and Synthetic Biology Approaches" are being used to selectively produce, study and control savants? ... a more controlled and deliberate brain trauma than the brute application of boot to head, although I wouldn't doubt the boot to head method has been tried.

Why would we do this? Well, for one, no matter how powerful our computing devices become they can't innovate. They don't create. I doubt we'd produce them so they could write songs and sculpt animal figures though.
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby brainpanhandler » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:24 pm

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Martin Luther King Jr.
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby brainpanhandler » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:36 pm

Professor Rafael Yuste Tapped to Advise White House on Brain Study Initiative

The oldest known drawing of the nervous system is nearly a thousand years old, but scientists are still trying to understand how the human brain works. Its mix of functions—perception, memories, thoughts and consciousness—are generated by an intricate network of neurons whose connections or activities still have not been mapped.

That’s where Columbia’s Rafael Yuste comes in. A professor of biological sciences and neuroscience, he is a leader of the Brain Activity Map Project, a massive effort to create a dynamic map of the mind. Its aim is to reconstruct a full record of neural activity, which could unlock fundamental and pathological brain processes.

Together with other neuroscientists and a group of nanoscientists, Yuste has been tapped as an advisor for a far-reaching White House initiative to advance deeper understanding of the brain.


“This is a beautiful country, where an idea can make it from a brainstorming meeting to the State of The Union address in a year,” says Yuste, a native of Madrid.

“Columbia is poised to play a major role in the Brain Activity Map, because of its strengths in neuroscience, nanoscience and optical imaging.”


On a more philosophical plane, Yuste says the mapping of the brain’s electrical activity in real-time may help answer the long-standing question of the nature of the mind, a question hotly debated since Locke, Hume and Kant. Is the brain simply an organ for taking in sensory stimuli and turning them into behavior? Or does it have a built-in creativity, its own internal program, that generates mental states, thought and action? Yuste says the answer might lie in what he calls the brain’s “dark matter,” the neural activity that goes on constantly behind the activity evoked by sensory stimuli. Shining light into that realm may produce more than magnificent moving pictures. It could illuminate the brain’s own inherent logic – in effect, its mind.
http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science- ... ping-brain

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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby tazmic » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:11 am

“Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects”, DARPA


"...the project aims to discover the neural network(s) involved in narrative comprehension and persuasion, and to come to a further understanding of how elements of existing narrative theories can induce or disrupt narrative understanding..."

linked from http://www.activistpost.com/2013/07/secret-darpa-mind-control-project.html.
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:20 am

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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby blankly » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:33 am

Presumably, as other communication devices have been vulnerable to hackers of all shades, so would a remotely controlled implant.
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby elfismiles » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:17 pm


Government Program to Control Religious Thought?
Truth in Media: Government Program to Control Religious Thought?
Is the U.S. Government working on a program to…well…program the way you view religion?

A whistleblower who has worked on that program says yes and he wants you to know exactly what has been going on.

The first towards truth is to be informed.

If I told you that the Defense Department was using taxpayer dollars to learn how to influence people with religious beliefs in order to control those beliefs, would it really surprise you?

Would you think that I am a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist?

Would you care if I told you that the program was aimed at controlling fundamentalist Muslims?

How about fundamentalist Christians?

Here’s the backstory. In 2012, Arizona State Universityʼs Center for Strategic Communication or CSC was awarded a $6.1 million dollar research grant by DARPA or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The goal of the project according to ASUʼs website is to “study the neurobiology of narrative comprehension, validate narrative theories and explore the connection between narrative and persuasion.”

A lot of technical talk there, so lets dig into the details.

The CSC program is actually about creating narratives. Using effective communication, largely video, to control the thought process of groups of people. And ultimately to be able to trigger narratives through magnetic stimulation. At its core, the program is focused on how to win the narrative against Muslim extremism. It’s a fairly interesting concept.

According to documents leaked to us, this project integrates insights from three mutually-informing theoretical terrains.
In short, the goal of the program is to combat and change religious narratives because of their role in “extremist behavior.” The whistleblower who revealed this program to us, worked for several years on the program. They asked not to be identified.

Ben: What were you told about the proposal as you began working through it?

Whistleblower: Yeah, I thought that it was benign. They told me it was about trying to figure outwhat parts of the brain are affected by narrative persuasion. Just to figure it out just for academic reasons. So we looked at narrative transportation which is basically how an individual is transported into a narrative, how they understand it…kind of like when you read a good book you get really enthralled with it.

At its core, the program attempts to map the brain to determine which portions of the brain allow you to accept a narrative presented to you. It’s called narrative theory.

Mapping this network will lead to a fuller understanding of the influence narrative has on memory, emotion, theory of mind, identity and persuasion, which in turn influence the decision to engage in political violence or join violent groups or support groups ideologically or financially.

You see, the project is focused on the belief that the reason Muslims in the Middle East are swayed to religious violence is not because of the reality of what is going on around them per se, but because they are believing a local or a regional narrative.

Ben: The local and regional narrative then is that the brain automatically assumes things because of a narrative we’ve been taught since our childhood, is that it?

Whistleblower: Right yeah that’s true. We call those master narratives. So in America we have this “rags to riches” master narrative where if you work really hard you can become successful and make a ton of money. So in the Middle East, they always use the example of the Pharaoh. That’s the master narrative that’s in the Qur’an, where there’s this corrupt leader that, you know, is really bad for society. And they use the example of Sadat who was assassinated. When
the assassin killed him, he said, “I have killed the Pharaoh, I have killed the Pharaoh.” So they assume that he was relying upon this Islamic master narrative to fuel his actions.

So how does the program change this? Again a lot of technical speak here so stay with me. But it’s broken into three phases.

Phase I is to map the Narrative Comprehension Network using a set of stimuli designed from the point of view of two different religious cultures.

Phase II will test hypotheses generated in Phase I, adding two additional manipulations of narrative validity and narrative transportation.

Phase III, it investigates possibilities for literally disrupting the activity of the NCN through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

Ben: Phase III is fairly interesting. I noticed in the documentation it says lets not talk too much about this because who knows if we’ll ever get there. But when you do read what Phase III is it is a little surprising, it’s called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. This is not something that’s science fiction, it’s not something they’ve cooked up. This is a real technique that’s already been used in the past, correct?

Whistleblower: Yes, it started out in the psychiatry field when people were depressed and when you’re depressed certain parts of your brain are not functioning correctly. So they created this technology, which is basically a big magnet, and you put it on their brain and it turns off that part of the brain that’s bad or wrong and it would help them with their depression for several weeks to a month and they’d go back and do it again. So this technology has been around for ten
or fifteen years.

Ben: So it’s very high tech propaganda, what we’re talking about.

Whistleblower: High tech and validated propaganda, yes. So if they’re able to turn off a part of the brain and get rid of that master narrative that will make you not believe in a particular statement, they would have validated this propaganda. So if they turn off portion X, they know that the propaganda is going to work and the individual is going to believe whatever is being told to them.

So why do all this? Because the project is based on the idea that despite the good work of the U.S. in the Middle East, the message of the work is not being received.

“The frequent rejection of US messaging by local populations in the Middle East, despite US insistence on the objective truth of the US message, illustrates the narrative paradigm at work. The well documented ‘say-do gap’ between US messages and US actions is seen by some as contributing to a lack of narrative validity in stories produced by the US. Similarly, stories of US aid do not ring true in a culture wherein Christian foreigners, since the 11th Century, have been invaders and sought to destroy and rule.”

So how to fix this?

Ben: How do you move someone from simply watching a video or seeing a video all the way down that line to behavior? It’s a pretty powerful tool if you’re able to do that.

Whistleblower: Right, so they think that maybe an extremist statements or a video like Al Qaeda puts out will lead to some individuals doing a suicide bombing, for example. So they’re trying to look at this video or the statements and take away a part of your brain that will think that it fits in with your culture or master narrative and that will hopefully lead you to not do these extremist, violent acts.

So what you need to know is that this program boils down to one central idea. If people aren’t reaching the conclusions the U.S. government would like them to reach, there must be a way to force them to accept these narratives.

Remember that the claim is that the U.S. despite giving aid is viewed in the Middle East as invaders. That, according to the program research is the product of embedded narrative, not a result of action.

So the view of the U.S. as invaders in countries where we have standing armies, dozens of military bases, the U.S. paying off drug lords in Afghanistan or regional warlords in Iraq or where we consistently bomb via drone strike in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia or where we fund dictators until those dictators are overthrown and then attempt to fund the rebels, who end up becoming dictators.

All of that has nothing to do with the U.S. view of Muslims in the Middle East because clearly they are missing the fact that the U.S. gives aid.

The next step, control the narrative and if necessary, use magnetic stimulation to force people to accept the view of the U.S. that we desire them to have.

After all, aren’t extremist Muslims dangerous? Extremist Christians? See the problem with the question is who gets to define extremist? Who decides if religious beliefs are inherently dangerous?

And if we believe that government should have the power to control how the extremist thinks… wouldn’t they have the authority to decide how and what we all think?

We cannot post the leaked documents from program here because ASU has claimed intellectual
property infringement.

Read more: http://benswann.com/government-program- ... z2hvCoayES
Follow us: @BenSwann_ on Twitter

http://benswann.com/government-program- ... s-thought/
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby Iamwhomiam » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:22 pm

One can only imagine where we'd be without DARPA. This sort of nanobot technology should be deemed illegal and outlawed by international law.

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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:27 am

Elfis -- or anyone else who knows: Where does Ben Swann get the funding to produce such a slick product?
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:07 pm

Ben Swann's linkedin profile lists "Cato Institute - 2000 to 2013" - so that's a start...
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Re: Obama's Brain Mapping Project

Postby MinM » Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:35 am

ImageThe Independent ‏@Independent: Ski accident leaves woman 'with extraordinary mental powers' http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 86523.html

An anonymous woman in America has told an incredible story of how she was left with extraordinary mental abilities after hitting her head in a skiing accident.

The ex-student revealed that she now has a condition known as “acquired savant syndrome” following the heavy fall on the slopes during a family holiday.

The syndrome now lends her incredible powers of memory and the writer explains how she can draw diagrams of “thousands of places, with thousands of rooms, branches and doorways” right down to the smallest detail” in a piece for xojane.com.

An individual with savant syndrome will display “remarkable and sometimes spectacular talents,” according Jonathan Hiles, Principal Lecturer of Health and Life Sciences at De Montford University, in an online article regarding the condition...

She then continued to ski on for the rest of the day but said that headaches made the night "hell.” Drinking the pain away was the attempted first option before she drove back to university the following day.

The head pain became so severe on the the next day that she visited hospital where she diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder, a broken collarbone and moderate concussion.

And then, over the next few weeks, “s**t got weird.”

“I could remember everywhere, like flicking through the pages of a book. Every place I had been, but specifically the buildings.”

Eventually she was hit by a complex migraine which brought her back to hospital and made her “the most interesting thing the hospital’s neurology department had seen in quite some time.”

She was ultimately diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome which gave her the ability to perfectly recall and map physical layouts of rooms and buildings. Before, she says, she had no interest in building, architecture or interior design...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 86523.html
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