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Mind Melds and Brain Beams: The Dawn of Brain-to-Brain Communication

Saturday, June 4, 2016
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Music students download the technique of their favorite pianist or singer directly into their brains. Medical students download the skills of a seasoned surgeon or diagnostician. And each one of us routinely uploads our thoughts and memories to the digital cloud. While these scenarios still lie in the future, rudimentary versions of the necessary brain-to-brain technology exist today. But the ability to directly influence another person’s brain raises serious questions about human rights and individual freedoms. This program will present the latest technology and explore how the ethical implications of enhanced thinking go to the heart of consciousness itself.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Our media partner for this program is Popular Science.


John DonvanABC Correspondent

John Donvan was just named a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his bestselling book, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, published in 2016 by Crown Books. He is also host of the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates, which are heard on public radio and by podcast.

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Joseph J. FinsPhysician, Medical Ethicist

Joseph J. Fins is The E. William Davis, Jr. M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College where he is a tenured Professor of Medicine, Professor of Medical Ethics in Neurology and Professor of Health Care Policy and Research.

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Miguel NicolelisNeuroscientist

Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., is the Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University, professor of neurobiology, biomedical engineering, and psychology & neuroscience, and founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering.

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Chantel PratNeuroscientist

Chantel Prat is an associate professor of Psychology with an appointment at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at University of Washington. She is also faculty in the Neuroscience graduate program, at the Institute for Neuroengineering, and at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering.

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Andrea StoccoNeuroscientist

Andrea Stocco is an assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is also affiliated with the university’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, Institute for Neuroengineering, and Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.

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Seung-Schik YooNeuroscientist, Engineer

Seung-Schik Yoo is a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, working as an associate professor of Radiology. He also serves as a faculty member of Mind Brain Behavior at Harvard University.

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