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David Eagleman on the value of brain science

by Charlotte Hajer on March 20th, 02013


The secret to a prosperous national future may be all in our heads. So says Long Now Board member David Eagleman in a recent op-ed contribution for the New York Times. In support of the President’s recent allocation of $3 billion to neuroscience research, Eagleman explains that the complicated riddle of our brain may hold the key to understanding just about anything.

Uncovering the mechanics of addiction, for example, will not just improve methods of treatment for substance abuse: by unlocking the possibility of developing preventive interventions, this knowledge could become a valuable strategy in the war on drugs. Similarly, greater knowledge of our neural networks may help to drive the development of more intelligent technology, and help build more adaptive machinery. In other words:

“Brain health, drug rehabilitation, computer intelligence, adaptive devices – these economic drivers would lavishly pay back any investment in brain research. So when a tax payer asks how to endow your country with a confident future, you can reply, the answer is right in back of your eyes.”