Ever wondered if the Matrix could really exist? If Nadav Harel's latest documentary is any indication, he's been asking himself the same question. Titled The Electric Mind, the hour long research film from Israel examines the very real modern medical technology that treats the mind simply as a series of signals in the brain. Following the lives of four patients with brain disorders, the documentary seeks to understand how electric manipulation of our minds has progressed so far, and where it might be going soon. We've got the trailer for The Electric Mind for you below. It looks simply stunning.
Harel's documentary seems a little in awe of the brain-based technologies it discusses. I kind of like that. Judging by the trailer and the movie site, The Electric Mind really takes it's time showing just how far we can reach into your head. That technology really is amazing. Though the resolution is still poor, and the applications limited in power, we continue to understand more about how the human mind works every day. Seeing that progress, it's natural to ask, where is this all going?
We may forget it from time to time, but technology is slowly slipping inside your brain, not from one direction but many. We have medical diagnostic equipment (like fMRIs and CT scans) that can directly monitor your brain. Researchers are actively trying to decode brain activity into meaningful insight about emotions and behavior. Surface scanning devices, EEGs, have gone commercial - mainly as means for the paralyzed to communicate, but with a wide range of novel applications. Devices like Braingate plug directly into the motor neurons in your brain. All of these technologies have their limitations, but our collective pursuit of a mind-machine interface (for whatever purpose) is accelerating. The XPrize is even on its way to offering a reward for the completion of the next generation of these devices.
It seems likely that the quality of our brain-computer interfaces is going to continue to improve, and that, eventually, we'll have a much better idea of how to translate activity in our brain. And how to direct it. One day that means we'll not only be able to "read the mind", but also write into it. The Electric Mind looks to be a fascinating approach to understanding that day before it arrives. I hope it hits widespread distribution soon (no word on official release dates). Till then I'll just have to keep watching the trailer.
[media credit: NoProcess Films ]
[source: The Electric Mind]