Up & Coming Weekly

August 29, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 6 of 24

6 UCW AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 6, 2023 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Spooky things can come in pretty packages. e first part of this column is dry with medical research, but bear with it, as it will get weird shortly. Remember our old friend Alex in the movie "A Clockwork Orange"? He will show up shortly to entertain you. A recent report in Neuroscience News about fun times with brain waves seems on its face to be nothing but good news. e University of California at Berkeley has achieved mind reading by recording brain waves. ey did experiments where they implanted electrodes in the brains of patients who were having seizures. e implants were to control seizures with a side order of studying the auditory parts of the brain. Once the patients' brains were drilled with electrodes, the Neuros played Pink Floyd's song "Another Brick in the Wall" for the patients' listening pleasure. ey recorded what parts of the patients' brains lit up while hearing the song. e Docs wanted to see if they could recreate what the patients were hearing while listening to "Another Brick". Voila! Eureka! And "Hey, watch this!" It worked! e Docs replayed the brain recordings and not only could they hear a mushy version of the song but also the words of the song: To wit : "All in all, it was just a brick in the wall". Why is this brain/machine interface a good thing, you might ask? Good question. If the electrodes can make out words in a patient's brain, then patients who had a stroke, ALS, or were paralyzed who could not speak might be able to communicate through brain waves turned into actual normal sounding speech by the use of electrodes hooked up to their brains. e part of the brain that recognizes the "musical elements of speech" uses a talent called "Prosody" which produces "rhythm, stress, accent, and intonation" in speech. e current speech translator used by patients like Stephen Hawkings sounds like a robot speaking. With the new Acme brain/machine interface, speech would sound much more normal. For example, texting has no verbal clues, while the voice on a telephone call might indicate someone was joking instead of insulting using the same words. "You stink" in a text could come across as hostile. While "You stink" in a phone call could come across as gentle kidding. Inflection counts. Under the current abilities of science, the brain must be impaled with electrodes to think speech into words. However, Neuros are optimistic that given time, they will be able to just attach electrodes to a patient's head without drilling into their brain to produce speech. Instead of being in a surgical theater, the patient could just put on Tom Terrific's Acme Brain/ Machine inking Cap to speak normally. Pro Tip: If you can remember who Tom Terrific was, please do not drive at night. e potential for doing great good for nonverbal patients is quite bright. However, this column does not dwell only on the sunny side. Following Lou Reed's advice: Take a walk on the wild side to see what could go wrong. Not every government function is benign. Imagine what law enforcement could do by putting an Acme inking Cap on a suspect to read his thoughts. e old Fifth Amendment goes into the dust bin of history. How efficient it would be to be able to read a suspected criminal's thoughts and memories. But what if Big Brother wanted to see if you thought that his rounding up of political opponents was a bad thing. e new improved Acme inking Cap would reveal if you were a thought crime threat to Big Brother. Big Brother might spank. You must learn to love Big Brother to be pure in your thoughts and deeds. As promised, here comes our buddy Little Alex from "Clockwork Orange". After getting caught subsequent to some Ultra Violence, Alex is subjected to mind control techniques where the government messes with his head to cure him from bad behavior. Alex is given a nausea inducing drug and forced to watch scenes of violence in a form of aversion therapy. As Suboxone takes the thrill out of heroin, Alex's exposure to violence while under the nausea drug appears to cure him. Alex only pretends to be cured. But with Big Brother's mind reading Acme inking Cap, Alex can't fake his way to freedom. Chiffon Margarine used to say "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature." With the inking Cap it will be impossible to fool Big Brother. Once again, one should be careful what you wish for. e brain/machine interface is not going back into the toothpaste tube. All in all, we're just another brick in the wall. Ask not for whom the clockwork orange tolls by PITT DICKEY OPINION PITT DICKEY, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200 Contributing Writers Wanted Join the Up & Coming team Use your creative talents to promote community events (people, concerts, theater, festivals, sports, etc.) Basic writing and interviewing skills needed Intern opportunities available for college students Contact editor@upandcomingweekly.com (910) 484-6200 Contributing Writers Wanted Don't Just Read About it, Write about it! Join the Up & Coming Weekly team • Use your creative talents to promote community events (people, concerts, theater, festivals, sports, etc.) • Basic writing and interviewing skills needed • Intern opportunities available for college students Contact editor@upandcomingweekly.com (910) 484-6200

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