The Human brain is only 100,000 years old. Yet, this newly evolved organ endows us with unique creative capabilities beyond all other living creatures, including the gift to understand itself. As our very survival and success in life depends on utilizing our brainâ€™s power, intense efforts have begun worldwide to understand the brain, reverse-engineer it and even augment its capacity. Towards this end we harness every trick in the book of mathematics, physics, chemistry, pharmacology, biology, psychology, as well as computer science, information sciences, and engineering â€“ giving rise to the birth to the new AugCog Era.
The new AugCog research field focuses on the development of scientifically-based rigorous approaches, including brain-computer interfaces and the use of various drugs, for restoring and augmenting cognition. The field includes the study of the relationship between basic operational states of the brain, such as sleep, or daily activities such as dance and their impact on augmenting cognitive capabilities.
This book confronts our entry into the AugCog Era through a series of contributions from the worldâ€™s best know experts. The book is divided into two sections, the first of which discusses state-of-the-art methodologies; and the last provide some perspective on the social and ethical issues. These two parts are separated by an interlude in cognition, where a fascinating story of the savant syndrome is told.