Interviews

Interview: Film Producer Joanne Reay On the Science of ‘MindGamers’

 

Detail from “MindGamers” poster art/Terra Mater ©

MG POSTER ArtMindgamers” is the the first-ever action movie for the mind: a cinematic experience and neurological experiment that offers audiences the opportunity to be a part of scientific history.

On March 28, 1,000 lucky filmgoers attending special evening screenings of “MindGamers” in New York and Los Angeles will have the option of allowing their own brain activity to be scanned as they watch the film. The data, presented at the end of the movie, will be unlike anything ever seen before: a visualization of 1,000 minds linked together by a common experience.

In “MindGamers” a group of young students create a wireless neural network capable of linking the minds of every person on Earth. Knowledge that used to take years to acquire can be downloaded in minutes, putting the sum of human experience within the grasp of everyone in the network. Believing that a new age of intellectual freedom is upon them, the students spread their discovery far and wide. When they do, dark forces emerge that are intent on subverting this technology into a new and terrifying means of mind control.

Do you live in Los Angeles or New York and want to be part of this historic event? You’ll have to register, first. Hurry and visit http://www.mindgamersmovie.com/#/join

In this short interview, “MindGamers” producer Joanne Reay and I discussed the real science behind this cerebral science-fiction film and what it could mean for all of us down the road.

Unbound Worlds: I understand that “MindGamers” was inspired by real scientific experiments. There was one involving mice and a maze, right?

Joanne Reay: Correct. There’s already a lot of work underway that explores the exchange of motor-skills between rats. Essentially, one rat is taught a series of complex tasks and then its “trained” brain is connected, via a hub computer, to the brain of an untrained rat. That second rat is then able to “download” those skills and undertake the same tasks. Human experiments are also underway, where muscle impulses can be sent wirelessly from one brain to another. This holds hope for people with spinal or nerve damage, meaning they could regain function by connecting to another brain. This remains in the future, but the pathway is being set.

UW: There’s a research element involved in the “MindGamers” screenings. The production is collecting brain data from some viewers. Is this the beginning of a future where minds and technology meld? Where will this lead us?

JR: There are many potential futures for the way our brains and minds may evolve. The rise of connective technology and our seemingly insatiable appetite to connect via our devices, suggests to some Futurist thinkers, such as Ray Kurzweil, that one possible future might see us connecting to a shared “mind-cloud” where we, as individuals, becomes part of a greater whole. Whether you see this as a thing of wonder or a frightening threat to your sense of self, is really a very personal choice.

UW: You’re a professional with many years of hard-earned experience in your field. Would you feel cheated in any way if someone could just download everything you’ve learned? Would you download anyone else’s information? Are there any skills you’d be happy to learn that way?

JR: Evolution has hard-wired us into thinking of ourselves in very ego-driven terms. We were forced by the need to survive to be selfish. Now we live in a world where those primitive values are almost redundant. But evolution is a slow process and so we can’t immediately change our perception. But with each coming generation, growing up with a connective device, the ideal of being part of a greater, connected experience may slowly over-ride the old ego values. So, whilst I may struggle with the idea of instantly sharing all that I am with the many, that’s a product of my age. And conceptually, I am actually open to the idea. Would I share my ability to write if I could gain the skills to roller-blade? Yup. I think I might.

UW: What might be some of the unexpected consequences of living in a world in which you can learn nearly anything in moments? It would seem like we’d have a lot more free time. Is this a world you’d want to live in?

JR: Without getting too esoteric, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that there is a sea-change coming for humanity. We are like lobsters, breaking our of our shell. A painful process but necessary if we are to grow. Our bodies are no longer going to limit us. It will be the mind that takes us further as a species. I’m not sure that issues such as what we’ll do with our spare time will concern us. I think we may evolve into something quite unexpected and everything that we think of today as core to our existence may be revealed as illusory.