This is your brain on… the increase?

MC posted an intriguing article about “augmented cognition” at Neurophilosophy (tag line: Minds are what brains do. –  Marvin Minsky).   As the topic implies, he discusses research into how to overcome the limitations of, for example, attention and working memory.

Among other things, he talks about the CogPit, the cockpit of the future. Part of its job is to filter out irrelevant information, allowing a pilot to focus on what’s more important.

From the article I learned a bit of the evidence for the existence of short-term and long-term memory as related by separate: anterograde amnesiacs can’t encode any new memories — their long-term memory is disrupted. Retrograde amnesiacs can encode new memories but can’t remember things encoded before the onset of their amnesia.

So many people hold such strong opinions that it’s refreshing to read:

Skeptics say that augmented cognition is no more than science fiction. As we have seen, memory and, to some extent, attention, are abstract concepts. There is no general consensus on a definition of either term, let alone on how they work. Herein lie the limitations of augmented cognition: it is based on theoretical models of cognitive processes, and it is, therefore, difficult to imagine how one could enhance processes that are not fully understood.

MC includes this link to a short film, The Future of Augmented Cognition (from, sensibly enough, the Augmented Cognition International Society).

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