Does the Mind Have a Future?

Baroness Susan Greenfield, Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, provides an intriguing webcast addressing the future of the mind. Biotechnology is blurring the distinction between one generation and another, nanotechnology is blurring the distinction of the body with the outside world, whilst Information Technology is perhaps causing the most immediate and diverse changes to how we think and feel. In this talk we shall see how, accordingly the individual of the future may have: higher IQ; shorter attention span; improved short-term memory; a preference for icons rather than ideas; sensory emphasis rather than cognitive; less empathy; be less risk-averse; be less sense of identity. Of these, some are desirable (higher IQ), whilst others are obviously not (less empathy). This talk explores how to harness the benefits and minimize the threats by being alert to the transition from ‘meaning’ to experiences, being constructive with risk, promoting recognition of individual and above all devising situations to promote creativity.

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