Came across this talk by David Eagleman about creating new senses.
- Brain does not care where sensations are coming from, but cares about what it can do with them, essentially making it a general purpose blackbox computer.
- Senses are simply swappable peripheral devices, since even the simplest animals are using similar architecture but having differently-tuned senses.
- Our subjective reality is limited by our senses, but we can substitute senses we don't have using our other senses, such as translating spoken words into vibrational patterns on the skin.
- The difference between accessing big data and experiencing it, comes with customized sense organs.
- We can reduce the technological complexities of our own devices into biological sensations, such as translating the orientation of the drone you are flying into vibrations on your skin.
- Scale that up and somehow, an airplane can become an extension of its own pilot's body.
- Apply it on other senses and things, and we can feel our own microbiome, and be generally more aware of our whole body and our surroundings.
Here's what I think about it.
He's not exactly adding new sensations, but he makes a pretty good point of translating different types of data into preexisting sensory data. It's like learning new languages, but its still the same five senses associating meaning with complex sensory patterns.
Here's what I feel about it.
If anybody here remembers my old post about bioengineered synesthesia, this is exactly what I mean.
Lacking primitive real-life marketable references at the time, I wrote something about improving eyesight by combining photosynthetic cells and polarizing filters on our eyes so that we can taste the sunlight as well as add radar and sonar capabilities for ourselves. I even imagined a quantum telepathic empathy through pheromones, in which emotions encoded in the quantum states of aromatic molecules ooze out of our skin and can be picked up and interpreted by supersensitive noses, allowing those who can smell our happiness understand our happiness as if it is their own.
But back then, I had to reinvent the entire body just to make it all sound plausible, which made it sound too farfetched and therefore improbable.
And now, some other guy is doing it, and I ain't even mad. Albeit a bit crude to use wearable senses, it's all good hehe. I feel validated.
Here's what I want to know.
It's all kind of like an augmented reality, but with different types of data mapped into our different senses, creating a more intimate and personal understanding of "what's out there for our little brains".
Now, what other types of data do you want to be mapped into our different senses using what peripheral sensory devices?