Tatyana Chernigovskaya: Fantasy has priority over scientific knowledge
On September 14, two prominent neuroscientists, Tatyana Chernigovskaya and Wendy Suzuki, delivered a lecture for students of the Presidential Academy. They spoke at the joint conference co-organized by RANEPA and Sberbank, The Newborn Generation.
As many as 350 best students from various RANEPA institutes and departments spent a day exploring modern trends in studying the brain and brain activity. The conference at the Sberbank Corporate University featured 10 panels, each involving a feature called experimental stations. These interactive units gave the students hands-on experience with advanced science and its application.
Quite a few participants were eager to explore science by own experience. Even RANEPA Rector Vladimir Mau became interested in having a test on an electroencephalograph (a device for measuring the intensity of pulses of various brain zones depending on external impact), and on a kind of lie detector.
Despite the excellent weather, the beautiful grounds of the Corporate University, its green lawns remained empty, which evidenced the high quality of the experimental stations. The students showed interest in the most recent developments, such as the amazing Eyetracker, a device that accurately determines the true vector and import of a human glance, and should be extremely useful in marketing, branding, and telemetry.
The students eagerly attended a webinar by Dr. Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science at New York University. She spoke about her science career and her studies of various aspects of the human brain activity, its components and the influence of external factors on it. After that Professor Suzuki willingly answered questions. She eagerly discussed the smell of the brain with a RANEPA student who asked the question. Apparently, different people’s brains smell differently, but it is unclear if this information has any practical implications.
The conference ended with a lecture by a prominent St. Petersburg neuropsychologist and neurolinguist, Professor Tatyana Chernigovskaya. Her lecture was devoted to artificial intelligence (AI) and its development potential. The listeners immediately appreciated the caliber of her personality – both scientific and human, and the question and answer session after the hour-long lecture was very long.
The listeners also appreciated the expert's story about the dolphins' brain development and their rich neurobiological potential: “The human brain has developed for about 250,000 years. The very complex dolphin brain has developed for at least 6 million years. Due to the dolphins' biolocation ability, they can literally see us through.
Professor Chernigovskaya’s authoritative opinion on biorhythms and their significance in planning one’s working day and proper rest made a strong impression on the students.
She described the artificial intelligence development potential as almost unlimited, but somewhat scary, since it affects the interests of all humankind. A confrontation of AI and the human mind might be possible, the expert warned. To avoid this, a lot of conditions have to be met, but it is too early to discuss them today. “All digital networks operating in the modern world are already capable of self-development and self-improvement. And we have to live with it.”
Citing prominent American cosmologist Richard Burroughs, Professor Chernigovskaya suggested the possibility of quantum leaps in the development of human consciousness. Her words about the possible priority of fantasy over scientific knowledge in the achievement of progress by humankind caught her young audience’s interest. Knowledge is limited, but fantasy has no boundaries, she said.
The RANEPA-Sberbank conference, The Newborn Generation: A new round of development, a new man, was held in an unusual format and naturally attracted students – representatives of the new generation. The organizers devoted the event to development in the broader sense and to the “new man” concept.