New Scientist Live: should we zap our brains to boost our abilities? | AI
Zapping the brain with electricity or magnetism can reawaken old dreams, improve depression, and make you better at maths. In recent years, we’ve seen a flurry of intriguing results from studies that have used a variety of ways to alter or enhance brain activity.
But do we know what we’re getting ourselves into? That’s the question that Nick Davis, of Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, will be asking at New Scientist Live.
It’s an urgent question. Many amateur enthusiasts have embraced do-it-yourself brain stimulation to help with everything from improving their concentration to supercharging their yoga classes. But the evidence is far from clear on how brain stimulation techniques actually work, and in what cases they might have beneficial effects. While transcranial direct current stimulation does seem to improve depression, some psychiatrists have warned that the technique can send some patients into fits of rage.
That hasn’t stopped researchers from working on implants, wearables and other devices that might boost our brain function and our ability to learn and form new memories.
You can hear from Davis all about how brain stimulation works and what we might be able to use it for at New Scientist Live in London on 20 September.
New Scientist Live is our award-winning festival of ideas and discoveries. The four-day event will feature more than 120 speakers giving thought-provoking talks on everything from how to be human to our planet’s problem with plastic.
Buy your tickets now