July 13, 2021

The Future of Consciousness

The Future of Consciousness

Divya Chander, PhD, Neuroscientist, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, interviewed by Trond Arne Undheim (@trondau), futurist, investor, and author.
In this conversation, we talk about how Divya Chander became a physician, neuroscientist, futur...


Divya Chander, PhD, Neuroscientist, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, interviewed by Trond Arne Undheim (@trondau), futurist, investor, and author.

In this conversation, we talk about how Divya Chander became a physician, neuroscientist, futurist, entrepreneur with the twin passions for exploring the brain and space. I ask her what dreams are. We discuss heightened states of awareness and get to the topic of consciousness: what is it and how to alter it? Divya gets into optogenetics: targeted activation or silencing of light-sensitive protein channels selectively expressed in neurons and how she uses the EEG waveform to monitor brain activity during anestesia. We talk about the Augmentation movement: who are they and what do they want? We explore the body's electric circuitry and eventually get to space travel within and beyond our solar system. Divya is helping to figure out how to create human hybernation and is also involved with SETI, the search for extraterrestrials. Finally, we discuss the need for regulation in outer space. I'll stop here, I think you just have to listen to the episode to find out more. It's a long one.   

After listening to the episode, check out:

Trond's takeaway: In outer space, and when space traveling humans come back, I shall fear humans more than the unknown, such as aliens. Beyond that, I find human augmentation both fascinating and frightening. It will undoubtedly happen, in fact, it is already happening. How soon? How extreme? What will the impact ultimately be? I quite enjoy talking to smart people who think about these things and are involved in shaping our future.

Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at Futurized.org or in your preferred podcast player, and rate us with five stars.

If you like this topic, you may enjoy other episodes of Futurized, such as episode 84, The Origins and Future of Open Science, episode 79 on Futuristic AI, or episode 68 on Industrial-grade Mixed Reality.

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Divya Chander

Dr. Chander is a physician, neuroscientist, and futurist who trained at Harvard, UCSF, UCSD, and the Salk Institute. She is Chair of Neuroscience and Faculty of Medicine at Singularity University, Visiting Scholar in Medicine (Bioinformatics) at Stanford (where she was on the Anesthesiology faculty for 8 years), and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center. Her postdoctoral research allowed her to use light-activated ion channels inserted in DNA (optogenetics) to study sleep and consciousness switches in brains. Her goal is to understand neural mechanisms of consciousness, the evolution of human consciousness secondary to human augmentation, and how mapping consciousness in humans may help us to understand consciousness and intelligence in other life forms (e.g. animals, non-terrestrials).

During the Covid19 crisis, she now leads or advises 3 pandemic task forces, including One Shared World’s Global Pandemic Resilience Task Force, a NASA-White House Telehealth task force, and a re-open strategy for the state of California. In response to the need for global resilience, she cofounded Plexxus, a company building the world’s connected global immune system. She is also founder and CEO of lucidify, a tele-neuroICU platform, backed by AI, to map and diagnose brain dysfunction in patients.

Dr. Chander also contributes to space life sciences and medicine. A finalist for astronaut selection and an alumnus of the International Space University, Dr. Chander has performed remote simulations of trauma rescues, anesthesia and surgery in Mars analogue settings with physicians in the US, France, and the Concordia base in Antarctica. She has also been involved with a consortium that elaborated a road-map for studying the effect of microgravity and radiation on the nervous system, cardiovascular system, cognition and sleep. She wishes someday to see the Earth rise from the surface of the moon.