Past, Present, and Future Technology: Interview Ideas: Emily Bruckner

I chose chapter 11, which discusses the concept of future brain computer interfacing, as it relates almost directly to the progression of oral history. In this chapter, the writers relate that we all collectively have the sense that we would like to improve our brains and that one day we may be able to change them in almost any way we like. We dream of technological enhancements that will make us smarter, improve hand-eye coordination, change, recover, or delete memories, and prevent bad emotions. Our brains cannot be exactly interpreted and read like code in a computer’s software, but we are getting better at interpreting the brain’s metabolic signals and electrical impulses. We now have technologies that indirectly measure electrical impulses in the case of the EEG, detect blood flow throughout the brain with the fMRI, and we can also read and predict limb movements with the invasive ECoG, which is situated on the surface of the brain. We even have the ability to implant paralytics with devices that enable them to remotely manipulate cursors on computer screens and even robotic appendages; going forward, it’s more likely that we will use rising technology to heal and improve damaged brains than to upgrade healthy ones. However, it may be that one day, most people have some sort of augmentation used to expand cognitive functionality. In relation to oral history, if we could one day come up with a device that perfectly and accurately stores our own memories, we should have the ability to flawlessly recount our histories and stories with the precision of a machine. This would allow for accurate unbiased retellings and the ability to remember them indefinitely. Of course, with every advancement comes forth an equally likely problem, namely hacking implanted devices that could cause detriment and even bodily harm to implantees.

The person I would most like to interview, is my dad. He’s been to college twice in his life, for two separate degrees. The first time he went to college he was in his early 20’s and received a degree in aeronautical engineering, which he wasn’t able to even use because at the time, his field wasn’t hiring. More recently, he received a bachelor’s in computer science. I would like to be able to discuss with him how his experience in college changed over the two different times he attended, especially since he opted for online study more recently, and how he had to adapt to the changes. I would like to discuss with him how the online education system made aspects of learning more easy or difficult for him and where he thinks attending college online will go in the future.   


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