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Get App-y: Future of technology mirrors the past

‘Brain Games' host Jason Silva combines his passion for technology and brain science in his work.
by Lillie-Beth Brinkman Modified: May 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm •  Published: May 7, 2013

TV host and philosopher Jason Silva reads much more into the act of using a smartphone to store contacts than the rest of us who simply consider the ability a useful tool of our devices.

Storing our contacts is an example of us using smartphones “to extend the boundaries of our thought, our reach, and our vision,” said Silva, who is currently hosting a new series on the National Geographic Channel called “Brain Games” airing at 8 p.m. (Central Time) on Mondays.

“We offload our memory so that we can free up our brains to think about more creative things rather than remembering phone numbers.”

Silva, who describes himself as a “wonder junkie,” to borrow a phrase from Carl Sagan's “Contact,” sees his life's work as helping people understand and marvel at how our technology helps us transcend time, space and distance.

He talks fast and crams a lot of information and enthusiasm about the future (and past) of technology in a 10-minute interview, but he is on a mission to get people to see the wonder behind our inventions.

Whether he's talking about the invention of the alphabet, extensive use of our smartphones or the future in wearable technology, Silva notes that humans have always used technology to extend the human mind.

“Humans didn't stay in the caves. We haven't stayed on the planet. And soon, we won't stay with the limitations of even biology,” Silva said, referring to big initiatives in the United States and in Europe to study the brain and to try to model it.

Engaging brains

These days, Silva is fulfilling his mission of bringing the wonder of technology to the masses with “Brain Games,” which offers an entertaining level of engagement for anyone who has ever enjoyed working out brain teasers and mental puzzles online, on mobile devices or on paper. Between those challenges to the viewer, the show attempts to explain the brain science behind things like fear, persuasion, and our perception of time and more.

“The idea is that the audience is a key participant in these interactive experiments, in these perceptual illusions. The show only works if your brain is engaged,” Silva said in a phone interview with The Oklahoman.

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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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