2007/2008: Brains, Technology and the Future

In 2007 the second CONGres conference took place. In this edition the theme was ‘Brains, Technology and the Future‘.

Due to the great success of the CONGres in 2006 the decision was made to turn the symposium into an annual phenomenon. A new comittee was formed, of old as well as new members.

The second CONGres conference was titled: “Brains, Technology and the Future”.

The first lecture was held by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Maass. He talked about “liquid computing inside and outside the brain”, a fairly technical but interesting talk.

The second lecture was about “vOICe; seeing with sound” by Dr. Peter Meijer. This ingenious invention, with which blind people can discriminate objects based on different frequencies of sound, fascinated many.

The third speaker was Prof. Dr. Marwan Hariz, head of the functional neurosurgery department at University College London. He spoke about his work in deep brain stimulation (DBS), which can be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, among others.

The next lecture was held by Nick Ramsey, who discussed developments in Brain Computer Interfacing (BCI), where signals from the brain, for example EEG, are picked up and transferred to a computer command. After all these medical and technical lectures it was time for something slightly easier to digest.

Dr. Ian Pearson, futurologist, spoke about the future of thinking yoghurt. He had previously worked at British Telecom, where he envisioned the future of technical developments and converted these into concrete ideas for products. He spoke animatedly about his vision of the future of the world that had a lot in common with Science Fiction.

By this time Dr. Anders Sandberg had arrived and he held a talk on neurological technology and its influence on daily life, especially in the future.

The second conference was a success, just as its predecessor. The speakers, visitors and committee members were enthusiastic and everything was organised well. More than 300 people attended this conference in the Roeterseilandcomplex, Room A.A.

A summary of speakers and their subjects:

Prof. dr. Wolfgang Maass Liquid computing

Dr. Peter Meijer The vOICe

Prof. Dr. Marwan Hariz Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

Prof. Dr. Nick Ramsey Brain Computer Interface (BCI)

Dr. Ian Pearson Future of neurotechnology

Dr. Anders Sandberg Philosophy of neurotechnology