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August 18, 2009
Wonderful Review of "The Neuro Revolution" in Cerebrum
Michael Huerta just wrote a wonderful review of The Neuro Revolution for Cerebrum published by the Dana Foundation. I've excerpted a few of his insights here, but I recommend reading the whole review, Our Neurotech Future.
Michael F. Huerta, Ph.D., is the associate director for scientific technology research at the NIMH and leads neuroscience and neurotechnology programs and initiatives at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He directs the NIH’s Human Connectome Project, the National Database for Autism Research and the Office of Cross-Cutting Science and co-chairs the coordinating committee of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.
"Technology’s potential to improve—or to imperil—our lives and our societies lies at the center of this entertaining and thought-provoking book by Zack Lynch, founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization.
Written for a lay audience, The Neuro Revolution begins with Lynch’s description of his first bungee jump, from the canopy of a lush rain forest, followed by a shock of pain from an injured spine when his second jump went awry. The experience inspired him to explore neuroscience and neurotechnology (Lynch defines the latter as “the tools we use to understand and influence our brain and nervous system”). With prose that is at times clever and quirky but never dull, Lynch discusses how our understanding of the human brain—as well as our ability to influence it—may shape the future of law, commerce, art, warfare and religion.
Along the way, we read stories of discovery and invention set in a variety of contexts and disciplines. Lynch’s anecdotes illustrate how the findings and technologies of brain science might alter society. He supports his stories and personal musings with references to reader-friendly articles and books; comments and insights from scientists, artists, ethicists and other experts; and historical facts that help the reader appreciate the full trajectory of a discovery.
... Lynch describes this and other neurotechnologies with characteristic zeal and animation without wandering too far from rigorous scientific interpretation. This is a difficult balance to achieve.
...Given the broad perspective Lynch takes in this book, readers may argue that he should have addressed additional technologies, neuroscience findings and ethical or legal implications more thoroughly. However, suggesting that additional points could be made or that topics could be explored further is more an acknowledgement of the richness and import of Lynch’s subject matter than a criticism of what this slim book offers.
...The Neuro Revolution is a timely and approachable introduction to the power of neuroscience and neurotechnology to shape our world, inside and out.
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