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  • Aaron Jones: Alright ready?

  • Elise Hu: So just to review, if I get it it'll turn green,

  • and then if I miss a human subject — a human targetthen it grunts.

  • Jones: Yep.

  • [grunt]

  • [camera shutter]

  • [camera shutter]

  • [grunt]

  • Hu: What?

  • Jones: You have to remember to press the trigger.

  • Hu: So much grunting.

  • I can't —

  • Sorry.

  • We are exploring the future of the human body

  • and what humans will be capable of in 2050.

  • In this episode, memory boosting.

  • How will super memory work?

  • What will it mean when we can learn faster and remember better

  • simply by zapping our brains a little bit?

  • And what if someone can overwrite your memory and manipulate what's real?

  • Let's find out in this episode of Future You, with me, Elise Hu.

  • It is nighttime and we are in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico

  • and I'm gonna spend the night here, in this self-enclosed space, for two nights.

  • One night without stimulation to my brain and then the second night with

  • electrodes connected to my brain. And the reason why is because we're gonna see if

  • my memory can be improved while I'm sleeping by zapping it.

  • Vince Clark heads the Psychology Neuroscience Center at the University of New Mexico.

  • Over the past few years he and his team have tested all sorts of ways to enhance our

  • brains ability to learn and remember.

  • In a multi-year study, funded by the U.S. military's research arm DARPA, they made this stunning discovery,

  • if your brain gets zapped during a certain stage of sleep it boosts your

  • memory of the day before. How well does this work?

  • The researchers are letting me give it a try.

  • Hu: Since this was originally designed for the military the

  • mental task is a VR game involving shooting photos of human targets that

  • appear in this desert scene.

  • Jones: Ok, ready?

  • Hu: Ok.

  • Jones: Ok, here we go.

  • Hu: So I'm looking for humans to move

  • to take a photo of.

  • Oh, oh, oh, wait what? Oh my gosh.

  • Jones: Remember to move your head.

  • Hu: Oh he grunted.

  • At first, this is a struggle, but eventually I get the hang of it.

  • Training complete. Time to go to bed.

  • Okay I've brushed my teeth.

  • The only way that I can even access the outside world is through this walkie-talkie.

  • Otherwise I'm about to go to bed.

  • So good night for night one. Good night for control night.

  • I get tested on my memory tomorrow. Bye.

  • When you close your eyes at night and drift off to sleep,

  • your brain begins its work on memory consolidation

  • through four stages of sleep.

  • Slow-wave sleepor deep sleep

  • helps your brain encode long-term memories.

  • While you're sleeping, your brain reviews what happened during the day

  • and it stores information that you received.

  • The super slow oscillations in your brainwaves coordinate all this.

  • Researchers found if they hook up your brain, record the slow waves,

  • use some advanced math to extract the data,

  • then program a system to stimulate your brain during slow-wave sleep,

  • the process of storing your memories is noticeably better.

  • Research subjects who got stimulated at night

  • have better recall of what they learned the night before.

  • It's about seven o'clock.

  • They just woke me up with a walkie-talkie.

  • So after the first night, I'm tested on this task to get a base of what my memory is like.

  • This will get compared to my stimulated brain tomorrow.

  • This is gonna be really quiet without the grunts.

  • [camera shutter]

  • To pass the time before night two, we took in a little Albuquerque.

  • The sunsets makes for memories worth boosting.

  • Then back in my PJs. This time, the researchers attach

  • electrodes to my head so they can read my brain signals while I sleep.

  • Here's my tail.

  • One more time on the VR game before an overnight memory stimulation.

  • The researchers have to keep the brain bonnet nice and fitted for the night

  • so it can correctly read when I'm in deep sleep.

  • Sleeping in a lab with a bunch of wires attached to my head

  • is rough, but once I fell into that slow-wave sleep

  • they stimulated my brain cells with something called tACS

  • transcranial alternating-current stimulation.

  • The technique figures out my brain's frequency for memory encoding,

  • and then feeds that same current back into my brain to enhance my memories.

  • Videographer: Are you in bed?

  • Hu: Yeah.

  • Videographer: Ok, I'm coming in.

  • Hu: Good morning.

  • Bye bonnet. This is the key VR test. After brain stimulation,

  • will my performance improve? Will my brain have learned something, either

  • explicitly or subconsciously, to make me better at recognizing targets?

  • Jones: So let me orient you to the graphs first.

  • So the figure on the left is your performance from your first day.

  • Hu: Before we find out, let's put our memory expert and neuroscientist, Vince Clark,

  • through our scenarios for how this plays out in the year 2050.

  • What is going to be superhuman about us if we can accelerate our learning and our memories in this way?

  • Vince Clark: There will be technologies that will allow you to learn things better,

  • store them better, recall them better later, things like that.

  • They already exist today. It's just a matter of making it even more effective

  • and easier to use and inexpensive.

  • Once you encode memory it's really hard to forget.

  • And that's probably the reason why we're able to do it because your brain is

  • actually designed not to encode a memory until you're really sure it's true.

  • And what we're doing is by boosting that process a little bit we kind of reduce

  • the threshold that you need in order to be able to encode the memory.

  • Hu: Yeah let's talk a little bit about that. What are super-villain uses of this?

  • So, you know, Lex Luther gets this. How is he gonna use this?

  • Clark: So if he can manipulate how people dream at night,

  • or how people come up with their stories and

  • consolidate their memories

  • Hu: Will we have memory overwriting capabilities in the future?

  • Clark: People are working on that too.

  • It's possible that it could be misused and you could force someone

  • to have a memory that wasn't really true somehow.

  • Although it would take a lot more work thanwhat we're doing now is just enhancing a

  • natural process. We're not really manipulating details about what you learned at all.

  • But as we get better that might be possible.

  • So memory manipulation, it sounds super scary

  • if our heads can be messed with externally while we're sleeping.

  • What do you imagineso if this exists, how do you imagine society will respond?

  • Have you thought this through?

  • Clark: So I see different patterns of responses.

  • My feeling is we're already doing it.

  • Commercials are designed to change our

  • feelings and our perspective about products or about things that we could

  • spend money on. And they're very good at that. They can — a good commercial can

  • change our culture. So we've been dealing with this for a long time.

  • Hu: Well, what if a government wants to do that to promote nationalistic ideas or something though. Right?

  • Clark: Right. Using medication too — I mean experiments with different kinds of medication.

  • How do you make people placid? Things like that.

  • Governments have looked at this for a long time.

  • Hu: What do you expect, Dr. Clark, to be super likely given this technology?

  • Clark: I think we'll get better at being able to

  • enhance people's ability to learn. Also things like pay attention of doing

  • sports and medical treatments like reducing pain. We already have ways using

  • electricity and magnetism to do that.

  • Hu: Alright. A very hopeful take. Thank you so much.

  • How did I do? This surprises me, but somehow my performance improved.

  • I couldn't explain how I came to hit the targets faster, but I did.

  • I'm not a true scientific subject though. I'm just trying something that years of

  • double-blind scientific research with hundreds of subjects bore out.

  • What does this prove?

  • Jones: That we can use transcranial stimulation during the night to improve other kinds

  • of memory not just like, kind of veridical declarative sorts of memory.

  • Hu: What the research found is stimulation improves memory generalization.

  • My brain somehow did recognize a pattern that the threats appeared in

  • and learned it with the help of tiny zaps to my head.

  • Even if I couldn't explain the pattern out loud, the learning happened.

  • Pretty cool. Right?

  • Ok. Checking out. Checking out of the sleep lab.

  • Oh. This way. Bye.

  • Bye.

  • So the possibilities for thisfor learning new skills or just remembering better

  • are pretty huge. And get this, researchers are already finding evidence

  • that they don't have to boost your memory while you're asleep.

  • This is already working in some studies for those who are awake.

  • How about that for the future you?

  • We invite you to watch this whole series.

  • You can watch it on NPR's channel on YouTube

  • or at npr.org/futureyou.

  • Ok. Bye.

Aaron Jones: Alright ready?

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B1 中級

兵士の記憶を高める方法を発見した軍人、そして私たちはそれを試してみました。 (The Military Discovered A Way To Boost Soldiers' Memories, And We Tried It | Future You | NPR)

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    cedricchen に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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