The Greedy Brain

2014, Science  -  50 min Leave a Comment
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The human brain is often referred to as the ultimate supercomputer. Medical science has much to learn about the cerebral capacity of our species, but they've begun to make profound strides in one particular area of research. Can the power of the brain transcend its human host? Produced by the acclaimed VPRO documentary series, The Greedy Brain explores this intriguing concept.

The question was posed during a groundbreaking experiment involving two laboratory rats who were both equipped with separate electrodes in their brains. One was given the task of transmitting an action while the other was positioned to receive it. Neuroscientists were shocked to discover that the rats achieved the same command and response in 70% of their attempts. In short, they shared a brain. The most awe-inspiring aspect of this experiment was the fact that these rats were separated by thousands of miles. Their cerebral impulses were connected via the internet.

What could this experiment and others like it mean for humans? Spinal injury patients may be able to walk again thanks to virtual reality and its power to activate the senses. A brain implant fashioned with hundreds of electrodes can give a quadriplegic patient the ability to operate robotic limbs on thoughts alone. Gaming enthusiasts may one day rely on their minds instead of a controller. These experiments are taking place now with both animal and human subjects, and they're paving the way to a future which was once only imaginable in science fiction movies.

The filmmakers also examine the advancements that have already been adopted around the world. Utilizing hi-tech imaging technologies, neuroscientists can enjoy an unprecedented look into the mechanics of our brains. They can read how each section responds to various stimuli and activities. With this data, they can formulate the treatments and targeted therapies of tomorrow.

Our brains are constantly attempting to exhibit a level of control over the outside world, and are thereby absorbing the outside world in the process. By understanding and manipulating this process, scientists might be usher the human race into thrilling new directions.

The Greedy Brain is an endlessly absorbing glimpse at the possibilities that exist within each of us.

Directed by: Rob van Hattum