We are living through an ICT revolution where if you make good use of ICT you can increase your intellectual performance tremendously. If on the other hand you unintentionally use ICT in the wrong way, failing to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the human brain, then instead of increasing the power of your brain, you shackle it in BrainChains. Since you do this unknowingly, I’d like to explain what science knows about how your thinking brain works and how you can unchain your brain.
First of all, let’s be clear about the nature of this ICT revolution: it is certainly not one where supercomputers or a network of computers will replace the human brain. People who make this claim often use the example of the IBM Watson computer winning in Jeopardy or the earlier example of the IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue” beating the world chess champion Garry Kasparov. These kinds of declarations are based on a triple ignorance: ignorance about computers, and above all ignorance about the workings and abilities of the amazing human brain. In this blog I will try to resolve some of the third ignorance, so that you can use this knowledge to realize an optimal synergy between your brain and your ICT instead of using your ICT in ways that ruins your intellectual productivity.
Well-informed IT people do not fall into the trap of the Newsweek article “The Brain’s Last Stand”, published shortly before the Deep Blue vs Kasparov match. Quite the contrary: Let me quote Kasparov: "The AI [Artificial Intelligence] crowd [imagined] a computer that thought and played chess like a human, with human creativity and intuition, [but] they got one that played like a machine, systematically evaluating 200 million possible moves on the chess board per second and winning with brute number-crunching force.”
Next: what the brain-computer revolution is really about