General Question

wundayatta's avatar

If we had the technology to manipulate our brains at will, what capabilities would you enhance? Why?

Asked by wundayatta (58714points) October 12th, 2010

The technology is already here, although it is very imprecise. Anti-depressants and mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics all mess with your brain chemistry—in order to limit harm.

What if the technology was much more precise. What if you could induce a mania that would make you smarter for a while, and then administer a mood stabilizer to take you down without actually experiencing the harmful parts of mania?

What would you do? How would you change your mind? Would you make yourself smarter? More active? More obsessive? Anorexic? Better able to control your muscles? Desirous of lifting weights? More mathematical? More expressive? More creative?

What would you do? And why would you do that?

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23 Answers

Rubrica's avatar

Oh deary me, this is an interesting one… To be honest, I really think that it’s people’s own responsibility to be sensible and know their limits; that said, I still don’t think people could be trusted with this. There’d be way too many people who’d abuse it, and everything that could go wrong would go wrong, in complete accordance with Murphy’s law. People would try to assume power, or ruin other people’s lives, et cetera… generally, it just would not work; anarchy would rule.

Hobbes's avatar

Well, I do this with psychedelics. I use them as a tool to explore my mind and my understanding of the world. I don’t know if they make me smarter, but I do believe they have had a beneficial effect.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I would definitely want to completely get rid of this bipolar shit.

cazzie's avatar

Oh… EASY! I would use it to understand and speak languages.

FutureMemory's avatar

@cazzie Oh… EASY! I would use it to understand and speak languages.

Ding ding ding! We have a wiener!

I’ve always had a terrible time with languages. I’d learn Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, French…it would be awesome.

cockswain's avatar

Memory and calculating functions. If I could retain everything I’ve learned and apply, that would make me so useful.

St.George's avatar

Yes, the languages – all of them. Also, the ability to be calm, or to calm myself and be relaxed instantly.

Rubrica's avatar

Ooh, languages – I’ve got to admit I’d be tempted by that one. But then, in accordance with my above comment, there’d always be a temptation, wouldn’t there? And we’d take advantage of that, like we always do.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I would enhance my ability to resolve problems, then devote my life to helping to solve the world’s most intractable problems, such as war, more equitable distribution of resources, population growth, environmental issues, etc.

cazzie's avatar

@Rubrica how does one ‘take advantage’ of knowing an extra language or two?

downtide's avatar

I would make myself hate smoking. Then I could give it up easily.

flutherother's avatar

Life’s secret is being comfortable with our limitations. However knowing everything, I mean everything would be nice.

Rubrica's avatar

@cazzie: I was merely making a point, although you could take it literally and say sme people would abuse learning new languages. ;) What I meant was that if we use it for one thing, we’ll use it for something“little” and then something bigger, and temptations would ruin the benefits of the device.

Tl;dr: humanity’s greed destroys any possible merit this concept would have had.

CMaz's avatar

I would make mankind into drones to do my bidding.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Ahh! Spoken like a true Liberal! : D

Winters's avatar

find something to quicken the synapses in my brain at least tenfold and boost the speed of my nervous system all together ten fold as well, and make all that permanent.

cazzie's avatar

@Rubrica I’m talking about understanding languages… not reading minds. Some one talks to me, I’d love to understand what they are saying. Ever live in a different country? Try to file a tax return in a foreign country? Attend school… talk to a bank teller…. in a country you don’t speak the language?? I’m talking really basic needs here…. no room or thought for extortion or abuse.

Rubrica's avatar

@cazzie Oh, naturally; indeed, it’s something I would long for. As I said (or at least tried to say! :D) I was merely showing temptations, a point that seems to have rather failed due to my inability to make it. You provide a very well balanced argument, and I agree that languages would be lovely to just know in a snap, but my point is that it should go no further than that; sometimes you must sacrifice the little things to prevent the big things. Or something like that. I don’t know, I think I’m just rambling now.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would have photographic memory.

Hobbes's avatar

@flutherother – Well, if you knew everything, it would be impossible to function as a human being. You couldn’t make any decisions because of information overload.

eden2eve's avatar

The ability to selectively forget some memories that are painful to remember.

lapilofu's avatar

I’m with @Simone_De_Beauvoir. I want a better memory. Memory is so fallible and yet I rely on it so intensely. As things stand right now, it’s a poor match.

cazzie's avatar

@Rubrica now you have me thinking of some evil professor improving his brain for evil purposes… LOL… Honestly hadn’t crossed my mind. :o)

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