The Future of Consciousness

Divya Chander, PhD, Neuroscientist, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, interviewed by Trond Arne Undheim (@trondau), futurist, investor, and author.

In this conversation, we talk about how Divya Chander became a physician, neuroscientist, futurist, entrepreneur with the twin passions for exploring the brain and space. I ask her what dreams are. We discuss heightened states of awareness and get to the topic of consciousness: what is it and how to alter it? Divya gets into optogenetics: targeted activation or silencing of light-sensitive protein channels selectively expressed in neurons and how she uses the EEG waveform to monitor brain activity during anestesia. We talk about the Augmentation movement: who are they and what do they want? We explore the body’s electric circuitry and eventually get to space travel within and beyond our solar system. Divya is helping to figure out how to create human hybernation and is also involved with SETI, the search for extraterrestrials. Finally, we discuss the need for regulation in outer space. I’ll stop here, I think you just have to listen to the episode to find out more. It’s a long one.   

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Trond’s takeaway: In outer space, and when space traveling humans come back, I shall fear humans more than the unknown, such as aliens. Beyond that, I find human augmentation both fascinating and frightening. It will undoubtedly happen, in fact, it is already happening. How soon? How extreme? What will the impact ultimately be? I quite enjoy talking to smart people who think about these things and are involved in shaping our future.

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If you like this topic, you may enjoy other episodes of Futurized, such as episode 84, The Origins and Future of Open Science, episode 79 on Futuristic AI, or episode 68 on Industrial-grade Mixed Reality.

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