Brain Wave NFTs 4 Capitalism
PLUS: critical psych strawmen, the health effects of noise, and finding meaning with the Hearing Voices Network
Researcher Wants to Mint NFTs of Paintings ADHDers Made With Their Brains
I wish I could say that I am more surprised I had to type that sentence! Computer scientist Marvin Andujar at USF developed a brain computer interface ADHD treatment that allows people to make “paintings” using their brain waves. The press release says he did it at the behest of students with ADHD, who learned about his work with brain-controlled drones and asked if he could make something for them.
Andujar spent 2 years and OVER $80,000 on this pilot study:
…participants wear a device lined with sensors and choose from a limited selection of colors, shapes or controls by focusing on one at a time. A blinking light lets the user know when their selection is recognized. This feedback causes a stimulus spike in the parietal lobe (the part of the brain responsible for sensory perception and integration) and is detected by the sensors. These spikes are then classified by an algorithm and saved on project hard drive as a user profile.
You know what also helps you practice concentrating and doesn’t cost $80,000? Actually painting, with your hands! You could, I don’t know, fund dying arts programs in schools so students have a creative outlet, but I guess then you wouldn’t get to store their parietal lobe spikes on a hard drive, for undisclosed data reasons?
I know, I know, I sound like a dinosaur right now (back in my day, we used acrylics!) but this kind of stuff is so transparently about money and career clout. Art is therapeutic and meditative, and it does improve your ability to focus and cope with the pain of existence, but as Erik Hoel pointed out in his piece on AI art this week, art is an act of expression. It’s a way that humans communicate, not the product of an algorithm, or in this case, the means to a productive end.
Is it art if you chose some pre-programmed shapes on a computer with your brain waves in order to train your brain to Do The Tasks better? Is it art if the researcher who designed the program uses a rainforests’ worth of CO2 to turn your creation into an overpriced, undelete-able JPEG to “expand his audience”?
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Sluggish to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.