Does Fasting Make You Smarter? | Big Think


The fasting group exhibited a 50 percent increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that John J Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, calls “Miracle-Gro for the brain” due to its role in promoting new neuronal connections.

via Does Fasting Make You Smarter? | Big Think


Researchers Have Discovered the Mechanism for Memory Retrieval


IN BRIEFResearchers have discovered that memories form and get recalled along two distinct circuits in the brain. This could be relevant to the study of Alzheimer’s disease.WHERE MEMORIES FORMNew research suggests that the subiculum, a part of the hippocampus that is rarely studied, is central to the memory retrieval process. This work also indicates that memory formation and memory recall follow different neural circuits. According to the team of researchers, this work represents the first identification of this recall circuit in vertebrates, although scientists did identify a similar mechanism in Caenorhabditis elegans, a roundworm.The team used laboratory mice that they had genetically engineered and conditioned to react to changes in light so that a reaction to green light would be tied to the subiculum neurons, which could then be inhibited. They then manipulated memory formation and recall using fear-conditioning events so the mice would make associations that were more or less pleasant in specific situations.

Source: Researchers Have Discovered the Mechanism for Memory Retrieval

New Tech Is Giving Humanity Many Potential Paths to Immortality


The 2045 movement, founded by Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov in 2011, aims to make humans immortal by transferring their personalities into a carrier superior to the human body. The movement’s ideology is “to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality.”

Source: New Tech Is Giving Humanity Many Potential Paths to Immortality

Elon Musk’s OpenAI Bot Beats Pro Dota 2 Player | News & Opinion |


Artificial intelligence developed by the Elon Musk-backed OpenAI bested human players this weekend at The International, an annual Dota 2 championship.While that might not sound too impressive on its face—we’ve seen Google-developed AI beat Go players—Dota 2 is “vastly more complex than traditional board games like chess & Go,” Musk tweeted.”Dota’s a great testbed for artificial intelligence; it’s a very complicated game with a large competitive scene,” OpenAI co-founder and CTO Greg Brockman said in a video explaining the project (below). “The rules of Dota are so complicated [that] if you just think really hard about how the game works and try to write those rules down, you’re not even going to be able to reach the performance of a reasonable player.”

Source: Elon Musk’s OpenAI Bot Beats Pro Dota 2 Player | News & Opinion |

Machines with Brains — Quartz


The boundaries between person and machine are becoming difficult to define. Human brains power robotic limbs; an artificially intelligent machine serves as the manager for tens of thousands of workers; chatbots act as digital replicas of us. Humanity is, in effect, getting an upgrade.What were once capabilities thought unique to humans are now powering technologies that could offer the ability to extend and deepen our lives—or supplant our livelihoods.

Source: Machines with Brains — Quartz

Neurable ushers in age of hands-free gaming with brain-controlled VR


Neurable’s brain computer interface (BCI) technology identifies brain activity through electroencephalography (EEG) and can translate those brain signals into specific directions within the VR environment. The company is ultimately interested in developing BCI technology that functions across a variety of platforms, but initial demonstrations focus on VR gaming.UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUSMore than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADERecently, the company demonstrated a functional VR game preview at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. The VR game demo is experienced through a HTC Vive with an integrated Neurable headband. The game is a completely hands-free interactive experience where players can reportedly move, pick up objects, and fight robots, all with the power of their mind.

Source: Neurable ushers in age of hands-free gaming with brain-controlled VR

Google Now Employs AI to Help You Land a New Job


Google launched it’s personalized job search function in the U.S. today as part of its efforts to utilize artificial intelligence in everything it does. Now, you can search for jobs that you prefer without the hassle of going through multiple sites and job boards.

Source: Google Now Employs AI to Help You Land a New Job