Click here to Download The Future of the Mind PDF Book by Michio Kaku English having PDF Size 5.1 MB and No of Pages 451.
In 1848, Phineas Gage was working as a railroad foreman in Vermont, when dynamite accidentally went o, propelling a three foot, seven-inch spike straight into his face, through the front part of his brain, and out the top of his skull, eventually landing eighty feet away. His fellow workers, shocked to see part of their foreman’s brain blown o, immediately called for a doctor.
The Future of the Mind PDF Book by Michio Kaku
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To the workers’ (and even the doctor’s) amazement, Mr. Gage did not die on-site. He was semiconscious for weeks, but eventually made what seemed like a full recovery. (A rare photograph of Gage surfaced in 2009, showing a handsome, condent man, with an injury to his head and left eye, holding the iron rod.) But after this incident, his coworkers began to notice a sharp change in his personality.
A normally cheerful, helpful foreman, Gage became abusive, hostile, and selfish. Ladies were warned to stay clear of him. Dr. John Harlow, the doctor who treated him, observed that Gage was “capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operations, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible.
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A child in his intellectual capacity and manifestations, yet with the animal passions of a strong man.” Dr. Harlow noted that he was “radically changed” and that his fellow workers said that “he was no longer Gage.” After Gage’s death in 1860, Dr. Harlow preserved both his skull and the rod that had smashed into it.
Detailed X-ray scans of the skull have since confirmed that the iron rod caused massive destruction in the area of the brain behind the forehead known as the frontal lobe, in both the left and right cerebral hemispheres. This incredible accident would not only change the life of Phineas Gage, it would alter the course of science as well.
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Previously, the dominant thinking was that the brain and the soul were two separate entities, a philosophy called dualism. But it became increasingly clear that damage to the frontal lobe of his brain had caused abrupt changes in Gage’s personality. This, in turn, created a paradigm shift in scientic thinking: perhaps special areas of the brain could be traced to certain behaviors.
Like optogenetics, another spectacular new development is making the brain fully transparent so that its neural pathways are exposed to the naked eye. In 2013, scientists at Stanford University announced that they had successfully made the entire brain of a mouse transparent, as well as parts of a human brain.
The announcement was so stunning that it made the front page of the New York Times, with the headline “Brain as Clear as Jell-O for Scientists to Explore.” At the cellular level, cells seen individually are transparent, with all their microscopic components fully exposed. However, once billions of cells come together to form organs like the brain, the addition of lipids (fats. The Future of the Mind PDF Book
Oils, waxes, and chemicals not soluble in water) helps make the organ opaque. The key to the new technique is to remove the lipids while keeping the neurons intact. The scientists at Stanford did this by placing the brain in hydrogel (a gel-like substance mainly made of water), which binds to all the brain’s molecules except the lipids.
By placing the brain in a soapy solution with an electric eld, the solution can be ushed out of the brain, carrying along the lipids, leaving the brain transparent. The addition of dyes can then make the neural pathways visible. This will help to identify and map the many neural pathways of the brain.
Making tissue transparent is not new, but getting precisely the right conditions necessary to make the entire brain transparent took a lot of ingenuity. “I burned and melted more than a hundred brains,” confessed Dr. Kwanghun Chung, one of the lead scientists in the study. The new technique, called Clarity, can also be applied to other organs (and even organs preserved years ago in chemicals like formalin). The Future of the Mind PDF Book
He has already created transparent livers, lungs, and hearts. This new technique has startling applications across all of medicine. In particular, it will accelerate locating the neural pathways of the brain, which is the focus of intense research and funding. Avatars and surrogates are the stu of science ction today, but one day they may become an essential tool for science.
The human body is frail, perhaps too delicate for the rigors of many dangerous missions, including space travel. Although science ction is lled with the heroic exploits of brave astronauts traveling to the farthest reaches of our galaxy, the reality is much dierent. Radiation in deep space is so intense that our astronauts will have to be shielded or else face premature aging, radiation sickness, and even cancer.
Solar ares shot from the sun can bathe a spacecraft in lethal radiation. A simple transatlantic ight from the United States to Europe exposes you to a millirem of radiation per hour, or roughly the same as a dental X-ray. But in outer space, the radiation could be many times more intense, especially in the presence of cosmic rays and solar bursts. The Future of the Mind PDF Book
During intense solar storms, NASA has actually warned astronauts in the space station to move to sections where there is more shielding against radiation.) In addition, there are many other dangers awaiting us in outer space, such as micrometeorites, the eects of prolonged weightlessness, and the problems of adjusting to dierent gravity elds.
After just a few months in weightlessness, the body loses a large fraction of its calcium and minerals, leaving the astronauts incredibly weak, even if they exercise every day. After a year in outer space, Russian astronauts had to crawl out of their space capsules like worms. Furthermore, it is believed that some of the eects of muscle and bone loss are permanent.
So that astronauts will feel the consequences of prolonged weightlessness for the rest of their lives. The dangers of micrometeorites and intense radiation elds on the moon are so great that many scientists have proposed using a gigantic underground cave as a permanent lunar space station to protect our astronauts. The Future of the Mind PDF Book
These caves form naturally as lava tubes near extinct volcanoes. But the safest way of building a moon base is to have our astronauts sit in the comfort of their living rooms. This way they would be shielded from all the hazards found on the moon, yet through surrogates they would be able to perform the same tasks.
This could vastly reduce the cost of manned space travel, since providing life support for human astronauts is very expensive. Perhaps when the rst interplanetary ship reaches a distant planet, and an astronaut’s surrogate sets foot on this alien terrain, he or she might start with “One small step for the mind …” One possible problem with this approach is that it takes time for messages to go to the moon and beyond.
In a little over a second, a radio message can travel from Earth to the moon, so surrogates on the moon could be easily controlled by astronauts on Earth. More dicult would be communicating with surrogates on Mars, since it can take twenty minutes or more for radio signals to reach the Red Planet. The Future of the Mind PDF Book Download
Controlled tests done on individuals with traumatic memories showed very promising results. But the drug hit a brick wall when it came to the ethics of erasing memory. Some ethicists did not dispute its eectiveness, but they frowned on the very idea of a forgetfulness drug, since memories are there for a purpose: to teach us the lessons of life.
Even unpleasant memories, they said, serve some larger purpose. The drug got a thumbs-down from the President’s Council on Bioethics. Its report concluded that “dulling our memory of terrible things [would] make us too comfortable with the world, unmoved by suering, wrongdoing, or cruelty. … Can we become numb to life’s sharpest sorrows without also becoming numb to its greatest joys?”
Dr. David Magus of Stanford University’s Center for Biomedical Ethics says, “Our breakups, our relationships, as painful as they are, we learn from some of those painful experiences. They make us better people.” Others disagree. Dr. Roger Pitman of Harvard University says that if a doctor encounters an accident victim who is in intense pain. The Future of the Mind PDF Book Download
“Should we deprive them of morphine because we might be taking away the full emotional experience? Who would ever argue with that? Why should psychiatry be dierent? I think that somehow behind this argument lurks the notion that mental disorders are not the same as physical disorders.”
How this debate is ultimately resolved could have direct bearing on the next generation of drugs, since propranolol is not the only one involved. In 2008, two independent groups, both working with animals, announced other drugs that could actually erase memories, not just manage the pain they cause.
Dr. Joe Tsien of the Medical College of Georgia and his colleagues in Shanghai stated that they had actually eliminated a memory in mice using a protein called CaMKII, while scientists at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn found that the molecule PKMzeta could also erase memories. The Future of the Mind PDF Book Download
Dr. Andre Fenson, one of the authors of this second study, said, “If further work conrms this view, we can expect to one day see therapies based on PKMzeta memory erasure.” Not only may the drug erase painful memories, it also “might be useful in treating depression, general anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress, and addictions,” he added.
In principle, some version of this nightmare might be possible in the future. But there are several factors that may prevent this as well. First, this is still an infant technology and it is not known how it will be applied to human behavior, so there is still plenty of time to monitor its development and perhaps create safeguards to see that it is not misused.
Second, a dictator might simply decide that propaganda and coercion, the usual methods of controlling a population, are cheaper and more eective than putting electrodes into the brains of millions of children, which would be costly and invasive. And third, in democratic societies, a vigorous public debate would probably emerge concerning the promise and limitations of this powerful technology. The Future of the Mind PDF Book Free
Laws would have to be passed to prevent the abuse of these methods without impairing their ability to reduce human suering. Soon science will give us unparalleled insight into the detailed neural pathways of the brain. A ne line has to be drawn between technologies that can benet society and technologies that can control it.
And the key to passing these laws is an educated, informed public. But the real impact of this technology, I believe, will be to liberate the mind, not enslave it. These technologies can give hope to those who are trapped in mental illness. Although there is as yet no permanent cure for mental illness, these new technologies have given us deep insight into how such disorders form and how they progress.
One day, through genetics, drugs, and a combination of high-tech methods, we will nd a way to manage and eventually cure these ancient diseases. One of the recent attempts to exploit this new knowledge of the brain is to understand historical personalities. Perhaps the insights from modern science can help explain the mental states of those in the past. The Future of the Mind PDF Book Free
And one of the most mystifying gures being analyzed today is Joan of Arc. An IBM computer called Watson did what many critics thought was impossible: it beat two contestants on a TV game show called Jeopardy! Millions of viewers were glued to the screen as Watson methodically annihilated its opponents on national TV.
Answering questions that stumped the rival contestants, and thereby claiming the $1 million prize money. IBM pulled out all the stops in assembling a machine with a truly monumental amount of computational repower. Watson can process data at the astonishing rate of ve hundred gigabytes per second (or the equivalent of a million books per second) with sixteen trillion bytes of RAM memory.
It also had access to two hundred million pages of material in its memory, including the entire storehouse of knowledge within Wikipedia. Watson could then analyze this mountain of information on live TV. Watson is just the latest generation of “expert systems,” software programs that use formal logic to access vast amounts of specialized information. The Future of the Mind PDF Book Free
When you talk on the phone to a machine that gives you a menu of choices, this is a primitive expert system.) Expert systems will continue to evolve, making our lives more convenient and ecient. For example, engineers are currently working to create a “robodoc,” which will appear on your wristwatch or wall screen and give you basic medical advice with 99 percent accuracy almost for free.
You’d talk to it about your symptoms, and it would access the databanks of the world’s leading medical centers for the latest scientic information.