This presentation is beyond fiction.

Current research in neuroscience and the extension and augmentation of senses is proceeding in directions that might sound to a twentieth century mind like science fiction. Progress is rapid but unevenly distributed: Some is directed by military, intelligence and corporate interests but beyond their concerns, we can discern the future shape of human identity itself in nascent forms.

The human body/brain is being hacked to explore radical applications for helping, healing, and harming this and future generations. Some can be done in garage-hacking style. The presenter, in fact, recently had lenses in both eyes removed and replaced with artificial ones engineered for the vision he wanted, a now-trivial surgery. The reach of new technologies promises an even more radical transformation in what it means to be human.

One area of research is the recovery of memories, the deletion of emotional charges from memories, the removal of specific memories, the alteration of the content of memories, and the implantation of new memories. Another seeks to read the mind at a distance and extract information. Another explores the use of genomes to understand and replicate thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns. Another implements mind-to-mind communication, using neuroscience to understand brains best suited for remote viewing as well as implants and non-invasive technologies that control the electromagnetic energies of the brain to enable psychokinesis, clairvoyance and telepathy.

Augmentation of human abilities is being achieved by splicing information from sensors integrated with existing neurological channels. To feel the magnetic field of the earth, see the infrared and ultraviolet parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, discern the yaw and pitch of airplanes, see and hear by going around our eyes and ears — all this means we will experience the “self” in new ways.

Thieme concludes with quotes from remote viewer Joe McMoneagle, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and his new novel FOAM to suggest the shape of the mind of the future. If you’re 20 years old, you have at least a century of productive life ahead of you, so you had better be on board with the shape of your future selves. 🙂

Speaker Bio:
Richard Thieme is an author and professional speaker focused on the challenges posed by new technologies and the future, how to redesign ourselves to meet these challenges, and creativity in response to radical change and identify shift. He has explored issues raised in this DEF CON 23 presentation for 20 years but raises his game to outline the shape of the future self, defining it as a system open to modification and hacking, giving the term “biohacking” new and compelling meaning.

His column, “Islands in the Clickstream,” was distributed to subscribers in sixty countries before collection as a book in 2004. When a friend at the NSA said after they worked together on intelligence issues, “The only way you can tell the truth is through fiction,” he returned to writing short stories, 19 of which are collected in “Mind Games.” He is co-author of the critically extolled “UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry,” a 5-year research project using material exclusively from government documents and other primary sources, now in 50 university libraries. A recently completed novel FOAM explores the existential challenges of what it means to be human in the 21st century. “The UFO History Group” is exploring a second volume and Thieme is selecting “the best of” his diverse writings for “A Richard Thieme Reader” and writing more fiction.

Thieme’s work has been taught at universities in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States, and he has guest lectured at numerous universities, including Purdue University (CERIAS), the Technology, Literacy and Culture Distinguished Speakers Series of the University of Texas, and the “Design Matters” lecture series at the University of Calgary. He keynoted a conference on metadata this spring for the U of Texas-San Antonio. He addressed the reinvention of “Europe” as a “cognitive artifact” for curators and artists at Museum Sztuki in Lodz, Poland and keynoted “The Real Truth: A World’s Fair” at Raven Row Gallery, London. He has spoken for the National Security Agency, the FBI, the Secret Service, the US Department of the Treasury, Los Alamos National Labs and has keynoted “hacker” and security conferences around the world.

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