Thinking About Brains

What’s technology doing to our heads?

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May 14 2015, 7:33pm

Image: NASA

In the highly-anticipated and very adorable-looking Pixar movie "Inside Out," due out later this year, the brain looks like a spaceship cockpit, memories look like glowing multicolored orbs, and the subconscious looks like a psychedelic server farm. "That's long-term memory," one character calls out as another starts wandering through the glass stacks of glowing balls. "You could get lost in there!"

While we're fairly certain that the brain isn't controlled by a set of lumpy cartoons at a switchboard, we still don't really know that much about it. We don't totally understand how memories are made, we're basically in the dark about how the brain develops over a lifetime, and we can't build a computer to duplicate it.

We're also totally unsure how the great human experiment of connected all the world's brains to each other via the internet is going to work out. It's like a prescription drug with a fresh FDA approval—we don't know the long term effects.

What is technology doing to our heads?

Our upcoming theme week is "Jacked In," coming up the second week of June. We're looking for wild stories about braininess. How are our brains adapting to technology? Are we storing more memories in our smartphones than in our brain cells? Is there any need for imagination when we have virtual reality? What will be the effect of brain implants and brain-to-brain communication interfaces?

What else is going on in the world of brains? You tell us. We're interested in human brains, computer brains, and animal brains. (We're especially interested in mice brains.) We're interested in things that the brain is responsible for, like memories, thoughts, emotions, dreams, willpower, and deception. But mostly we're interested in how the future that we live in—the age of 4G, in-flight Wi-Fi, Uber, and Oculus Rift—is messing with our heads.

We're pretty open to ideas, so either hit up your favorite editor with some pitches, or send them to editor@motherboard.tv. Jacked In will run June 8-12.

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