Calendar of Events

Spring 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012
Timothy Lenoir (Visual Studies, Duke)
Premediating Neurofutures: Brain-Machine Interfaces and the New New Media
3:30 pm Curtin 118

The dream of augmenting human capability through man-computer symbiosis has its origins in Ivan Sutherland’s work at the University of Utah on the ultimate display, and in work by the generation of students trained by Sutherland and colleague David Evans who launched the fields of telepresence and VR at legendary sites such as Atari’s research lab and the NASA Ames Research Center in the 1970s and 1980s. Noting these origins, Timothy Lenoir traces lines of synergy and convergence among several areas of neuroscience, engineering, and computational media that raise prospects for not only realizing those early dreams of human augmentation, but also of possibly transforming human being as we know it in radical ways.

For this talk, Lenoir begins with work in brain-machine interfaces currently used in therapeutic neuroprosthetics, engages with the visionary speculations neuroengineers such as Miguel Nicolelis at Duke on their future deployment in ubiquitous computing networks, and then contemplates the implications of these prospective developments for reconfigured selves. The second area he explores is the convergence of work in the cognitive neurosciences on the massive role of affect in decision making and the leveraging of next-generation social media and smart devices as the “brain-machine” interfaces for measuring, data-mining, modeling, and mapping affect in strategies to empower individuals to be more efficient, productive, and satisfied members of human collectives. He frames this part of his argument in terms of Richard Grusin’s notions of “premediation.” If any of these speculations have merit, Lenoir suggests that we may then want to invest in “neurofutures”—very soon.

Connect to Me image Image courtesy of the Laboratory of NeuroImaging at UCLA and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH, Consortium of the Human Connectome Project

Timothy Lenoir is the Kimberly Jenkins Chair for New Technologies in Society at Duke University, and is the founder and co-director of the GreaterThanGames humanities lab at Duke, a multidisciplinary lab focusing on the development of transmedia, alternate reality games. In addition to publishing several books and articles on the history of biomedical science, he has been involved in digital archiving and web-based collaborations, including projects with Stanford University, MIT, and the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at UC Santa Barbara. His current research centers on the use of text-mining and visualization tools for mapping the recent history of bio-and nanotechnology, the use of computers and digital imaging in biomedical research, and the history of interactive simulations and video games. He recently completed Virtual Peace: Turning Swords to Ploughshares, a training and simulation game-based learning environment for workers and students in the field of peace and conflict resolution.

Brown bag lunch with Timothy Lenoir
Friday, March 30, 2012
12 noon Curtin 939
Recommended reading: Timothy Lenoir, Contemplating Singularity

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