Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D.
The Cognition Crisis: Perils and Promise of Technology and the Brain
The David Dolby Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry
University of California San Francisco
Founder and Executive Director, Neuroscape
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016
Our lives on this planet have improved in so many amazing ways; notably in terms of our health, longevity, literacy and resources. Despite such significant advances, clear signs are present that our species is struggling in a fundamental way - the strength of our minds. I have come to believe that we are experiencing an emerging, global cognition crisis, presenting itself as a growing lack of high-level attention, emotional regulation, decision making, creativity, empathy, compassion and wisdom. While it has become clear that modern information technology has aggravated this crisis, there is also an untapped potential for it to offer us a solution.
I will present an evolutionary and neuroscience perspective on how modern technology has challenged our brains. I will then describe an approach I have been advancing over the last decade to create and validate a new era of experiential medicine, one delivered via personalized, adaptive, interactive experiences designed to achieve meaningful and sustainable cognitive enhancement. I will take you on a deep dive into my efforts to integrate custom-designed, closed-loop video games with innovations in virtual reality, motion capture, physiological recordings, brain-computer interfaces, non-invasive brain stimulation and artificial intelligence. We need to be creative and future-thinking to address this grand challenge of enhancing cognition, so that we can improve the quality of our lives and effectively manage the many other crises that we humans are facing.
The Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture series is presented by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.