3:58AM Jul 30, 2020
Are we having fun or what? hackers on planet earth 2020 it's all virtual. It's in your head it's on your computer and right now it's going to get you moving because we're doing another fantastic performance starting at midnight technically on day six in New York Eastern Daylight Time where with conference would have been we're in person but we're not we're everywhere. But in your head. This performance is Joshua freed who is radio Wonderland radio Wonderland. Turns mass media into a prominent on looking at why FM radio, we're going to get mixes. We have shoes behind them there is going to be amazing. We're going to have a music set for a little while then we'll come back and have some discussion with Joshua. Stay out. stay up late. Stay energized. It's in your head right now. Welcome, Winter Wonderland.
You know, it's rough Delilah. She did tell me she was getting married. I don't know if she married or if I have grandchildren. What's your daughter's names? Your daughter's names. Your daughter's names your daughter's name for her and I hope that God helps you to to heal the distance.
Thank you, Delilah.
Okay, have a wonderful day.
News Radio at Metro network. work
in Vasquez. What's up?
New York, New Jersey. You 1027
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That was my set?
Fantastic. There was a lot of jamming rocking. yes they're laughing head banging on Find the things.
And did it sound okay, was it clear? I think
quality sound quality was excellent.
The one thing that a few people remarked on was you must have some some bass in your location there because we could see the camera vibrating as the
I'm on a different camera now. Yeah, so.
Fair enough. So what are you what are you wanting to start? I mean, it's great to have you here. This is
our guest for this morning's performance. Joshua fleet who is radio Wonderland. I think it would be fun if you would just introduce us to your gear, but we've been listening to it and it would be nice to get a little insight into what it is how it works. I said, Oh, yeah. Okay,
now I have to tell you, when I get off stage, my mind is scrambled. may take me a few minutes to ask you
one on one one at a time you tell us you got it, you got an old style radio with an analog violin there. And that's obviously input to some of your samples. That is
the sole input for all of my samples. Everything comes from the radio, I start with nothing and it's all from scratch, as it were. And I try to make that clear. When I when I do a show on stage in front of people, you know, when we used to all go into the same room for some reason and stand there something
yeah, I think it has to do with some mating ritual.
I would walk through the space carrying the boombox and then have an audience member tune it and and then plug it in, and then oh, that's in the sound system. But here I didn't do that because it's just seemed a little silly. So yes, that is a boombox from the 80s and once I realized that the volume control is how I like it. And it has two output jacks. I decided I should get several of them and I have about a dozen of that same model so I don't have to worry about it breaking and ruining my show.
So yeah, so that's the input. So that's that's an old school radio
now I know you I figured you're in New York so I recommend some of those radio station all that is live radio right?
Before it's absolutely yeah, that's the whole thing. I would never record it beforehand. That would ruin the concept. It would make me feel very blue. And no, I'm not into that. And you got Delilah who's in who's national or international? With her Yeah, yeah, I love to live I am. This kind of work if you think about it, works best with roughly sustained sounds. So soft rock is a perfect thing to dismantle for my musical ends. if for no other. if for no other reason.
Let's see. You like the
talk radio, though? Also? Well, yes.
And I need speech to create percussion as I did. And that was Delilah. Now that I remember Yes, that was Delilah. And yeah, I was that was
Yeah, that that
was that was fun her a little bit. Um, I forget what she was saying that's nothing It goes straight out of my head. People will come up to me after a show and said, Oh, it's so amazing the thing you got about dreaming and then you got dreams by Fleetwood Mac. And I would say like what I don't even remember. But there was something about New York hits New York's classic rock and oh, and hopefully, right. Yes, exactly.
Exactly. The key word. Yeah. And
that's the kind of cheesy thing where if I was going to plan in advance to have some samples for the HOPE Conference, would I really choose, hopefully, or hope? No, but this was something that just came on the air and I took it and it was it just seemed to work, you know, the first time I performed at home, there was kind of a magical moment it was in the hotel Pennsylvania in their lounge area. And I got some sports cast. And the announcer it was but it was a commentary it was wfh n or something like that ESPN Radio or something. And the person said in this era of unfettered free agency, and that's a very kind of hackery sentiment. And so I grabbed that and people with a that it was like it was electric was really it was really fun. And again, that's nothing I would have thought of beforehand with the equivalent sum, the equivalent that I could have thought of before had would have been cheesy, you know, and everyone knew that it was in the moment. And I'm sorry that we can't all be in the same room because that's part of that's part of the charm,
but we're trying to simulate here so so I want to continue with the gear But you just said something interesting and about improvisation. And you know, I wonder Just in terms of your preparation for an event like this, how much is in your head of what you're getting? I know that you're jamming on the radio, you don't know what's gonna be on video, how much of the set sort of in your head, how much just emerges as you are going through in the moment?
Well, I have certain practices that work for this project. It's good when I create a kick drum out of radio towards the beginning. I like to have sort of a tonal Foundation, also towards the beginning. But once I have that kick drum, I can go with the percussion next, or the sort of tonal foundation depending on what I pick up on the radio. I also want to have some kind of a catchphrase. And depending on where I am between commercial breaks in the music, I will get one of these things sooner or later. And then I want to jam. And if a piece of radio seems melodic enough, even if it's spoken word I'll see about Oh, can I really make a melody or a bass line? out of this, and that was the word hope that was of hope. And that the came that very poppy kind of baseline that was that was fun. I didn't know at once I had it. I liked it so much. I kind of didn't know what else to do with it, but it was just, I kept on enjoying it and rolling with it.
So it's very organic. And yet it's also it's also there's a structure to follow. Yes,
yeah, there's a structure that has to do with sort of the narrative of cobbling together the groove which is somewhat dependent on what I get on the radio, especially at the beginning. And I also think of an ending I don't think of I don't try to make up or concoct an ending I think about endings and I have some standard endings like I often end with this the turntable wheel, and that can be really fun. Sometimes I end with a massive tempo change, which I didn't do at all, but the wheel is I didn't do it all just now but the wheel is also a tempo knob. So I can slow everything down or speed it up and then you when I slow it down, you can really hear the way this is not like Ableton Live. I am not warping radio to fit my tempo. I'm arbitrarily conforming radio to my tempo by rigidly spitting out the samples on my rhythmic timeline, that's my tempo is completely unrelated to what's on the radio. So you get this like, like grotesque phasing between the tempo or whatever the song was, and my tempo, which is something that I like, and you don't get that in normal, you know? Well, that's how
it works. And there's no doubt about it. Um, you mentioned the wheel, we got to know more about the wheel. So So tell us about the electronics in that series. Okay.
Well, I worked with Eric singer who was a great I don't know if you know, but he's he's worked a lot in Max MSP and he also created robotic instruments with his organization called lemur, which is the League of electronic musical urban robots. And he helped me make this wheel I invented it and he he did the the microchip the microcontroller, which is his own, not Arduino Arduino thing. And I think he called it the he called his his, his the little microcontrollers that he was making at the time he called iraq something and so that's his, so he modified his own iraq tronic microcontroller thing and that uses an optical encoder and that is converted into MIDI. And all of my controllers are MIDI, not OSC, which would be cool but I'm rocking it old school of MIDI is down dirty and reliable. So the wheel, the shoes and my fader box are all MIDI that fader box is not a mixer. All the processing is in the laptop. And it's all it's all Macs programming. And so the optical encoder is giving me 120 increments per rotation and it works fine for everything that I do except that turntable wheel which I would I would like to have it I will get at higher resolution, high resolution wheel for that but it's absolutely a robust so the way I like it the the encoder is I don't remember what what model or what have you but it's basically was designed for industry. And so this thing is not going to go bad. This is designed to be part of a controller for some like weaving factory or something like that. So I could play the wheel for 10 years and that thing isn't gonna isn't gonna go bad. I will replace it for reasons of resolution before I before it goes bad. So we were
watching closely and we saw that when you turn the wheel the fader sliders were moving so So is there anything mechanical in this system or is it all electronically controlled?
No, it is. Um
that that is
you lost your 30s we lost your audio for a moment. Oh no, you're back. Okay. Searching talking about the mechanical on the feeder and I got this I got the zoom warning.
I got this I got the zoom your internet is unstable was
performance and that's what matters. Yeah. Okay, thank you. Um,
what was I saying? Oh the mechanic. So, because I'm using flying faders although I only have eight motorized faders that is although I only have have eight actual sliders. I have unlimited virtual sliders. Or maybe virtual isn't the word because each slider will move physically to correspond to the value of the parameter that I'm controlling at that time with that slider. So I can have an eight set of eight sliders for the various levels of the parts of my groove. Or I can have eight sliders for various parameters related to the, to the shoes, or related to my filter and my in my in my echo and stuff. So when I go to the different pages, which just seems like an intuitive term for it, the sets of faders they will physically match their their value, but I have my filter fader and it's when I'm on that in that context that I also have the wheel controlling the filter, so that faders got to go up and down with a wheel so yeah, that's that's how that happened. But it's all through MIDI.
And your fader was your main instrument, but I didn't see you touching the laptop
No, you know the laptop is giving me feedback and I have I could show you like I have one little I have a vocoder super cheap as of course it's not going to work because like I said once I'm off stage just a second here oh
you can still hear me
okay, why am I not oh here we go
it's just a vocoder on the on the on the radio that I have from the from the computer keyboard so it's basically nothing with a laptop and I in fact I used to say in one of my
promo blurbs, but I hardly touch the laptop because like, I can't stand the
I shouldn't say that there's some there's some great people, but the DJ, the laptop scene and the Brooklyn experimental music laptop scene where they're hunched over their laptop, and the standard joke is, are they doing their email? And like everyone comes up with that joke independently when they see that, and I just didn't want any part of that. So what I'm seeing on the on the screen is feedback of what loops, what potential loops have audio in them, which of my tracks have re shuffled and reordered and transposed radio have patterns in them what those patterns look like, but I don't I, I don't know what the sound is going to be beforehand. So I just number my slices of radio and I number my loops, and then I try to try to remember them.
Yeah, so the
radios it's a little like penicillin
scope resistant signal, showing you the signal that sent the signal. So you go
Yeah, except I don't actually have waveforms in my screen. Oh,
what's the visual one?
beats per minute or something. What are you getting? I have up.
Gosh, if I was, if I had it handy, but I'm using a separate computer for streaming. It doesn't have my files on it. But I have a picture of my grids. So I have my various tracks. And it actually looks like the interface for programming of an 808 drum machine kind of were there 16 slots that can have a note in them. And the note is denoted by a number. And the transfer the transposition which is controlled by the wheel I can hear and I don't bother with that, with the displaying the number and the assignment of my various buffers to various assignments is also reflected on my screen so I can say, Oh, well, I only have a finite number of buffers and a finite number of tracks. So I assigned radio to them and I think I will I have one empty slot there. Let me assign this piece of radio to that. And when I'm trying to remember like, Where was that? Like, like where was the 80s thing? And where was the hopefully thing and I'll look on and I'll say oh yeah, that's that rhythm over there and then I then I know the button to push. I see Yeah, so it's really a
sort of a memory aid or anything else that sounds like Yes, well, yeah,
Um, I have great plans for radio Wonderland 2.0 software and one of the things I'll have is actual waveforms, which will help but it's it's still you know, I'm dealing with with unknown radio. Now might be
enough, I don't know to tell us a little bit about the software. So obviously an ongoing, an ongoing process, but also about the development environment and the other co complexity, whatever you want to share. Well, I wish
I had the visual aids with me but I just still too, still too green on this computer and with streaming So I didn't load any of my media files on here, the focus was on doing the gig. But it's all programmed in max. And Max is the graphical programming environment that started at ear comm, which is the computer music Institute in Paris, France. And then it was in the, I guess, early 90s, marketed commercially by opcode. And that was quickly bought by cycling 74 I think I have this right. If there's a Mac said in the audience, they'll probably steer me straight in cycling 74 is a great little company. And they have developed Max and around the mid 90s Max, which was a graphical programming environment for MIDI introduced signal processing in max. And so all of a sudden, I was able to use the graphical programming environment we, I guess it's a little bit like Visual Basic or something like that. Um, you move these modules around on the screen, and then they get connected, you draw lines to connect them. And you could do that with, with graphical objects that represented an audio signal. And so I could route and I could, I could slice. But another thing you can do is create logic and trigger events at the sample rate. So what I can do is press a button that starts a ramp that's propagating at the sample rate. And I will say, well, one eighth into this RAM, fire off an event. And all of the sequencing is done at the sampling rate. So it's very precise. Now, for some programmers, they may look at that and think, Well, why on earth do you need to propagate something at the sample rate to get precise timing just program it? But obviously, but Max is a higher level language than that. And conceptually, it's really very elegant and wonderful to think in terms of different elements propagating numbers at the actual audio sample rate. And those numbers could be audio waves, which I then multiply or I'd multiply to attenuate or to make louder for instance, or to envelope or transpose by racing through them with a different rate from the, from the original rate. But I can also create sample precise timing in that audio environment. And so that really appeals to me. And so I'm, I'm, I'm kind of addicted to that, to that way of thinking. Um,
Wow. So So and that's and so you've been Woody, is it fair to say you've been working on the same max program for years and years? Or do you, as you mentioned the two dot o or is it something that you do? And it's an it's done, you know, in other words, are you done with radio 111 dot o and we're always working progress I just want to read about if you're always in the back, so always sweeping it always, always developing all these things to do. No, I'm
not and it's kind of it's kind of a
it's kind of a crazy tale. Uh, but I developed this over a number of years and was debugging it and it took so many years, I finally decided two things. One, I could spend another three months debugging or I could work around the bugs and get on stage now finally, and so I started gigging and I made a deal with myself. I'm not going to write another line of code or drag another graphical object with the mouse until I have a record out And because the idea was perform, record the shows, and this should help make me prolific, and be able to release more stuff. And so this was 2007. I figured, oh 2009 or whatever, I'll have a record out and then 2010 I'll do the I'll finish the debugging, maybe do another version. Well, the album didn't come out till 2016. And it's better for it because I got really good at performing this. And although it was my intent, I still had to really learn to honor
this requirement of of
a kind of mastery. I need to become somewhat virtuosic at this in order to to make good grooves. It's such a basic instrument. And the wheel isn't going to be in tune. It's going to it's transposes in half steps. With one octave, one rotation being one octave, so I still have to learn it. And I had to learn the feeling of all the different buttons and applying things to the grid and get accustomed to which which button to hit. So I put out an album in 2016 2016 called seize the means. And now I'm finally working on new stuff because after the album I toured and I did some good shows, I want to release some of those. And so radio in Wonderland 2.0 is one of the next projects after these releases. And so we've spent so it's been that many that many years. And in fact,
that's a powerbook. That's a 1999 power book that's running the max MSP.
So you don't want to change that at this point, I guess. No, no,
it's gonna be everything's gonna be retooled. And the great thing about one of those is that I can have several because if you can find them, they're like $30 And yeah, it's funny if there's not a lot of Macintosh at hope
but I am. I don't know. super happy. super happy to be here.
Oh yeah, I'm on a Macintosh at my end so we got a couple of us. Oh really? Oh yeah was that so? Yeah, yep. So So I think the big question I've been saving is tell us about the shoes there's a lot of demand to know exactly what's going on with electronics and why you chose shoes why shoes all things? Oh, I didn't already answer that.
Oh squeeze skipped
it I went by went over your shoulder from right to left as I'm looking at you. And the shoes to want to come back from shoes, skip skip
the shoes, so to speak the shoes. Um, well, there's, there's the reasoning and then there's how it actually happened. The reasoning is that these electronic drum triggers normally look like they're out of a science fiction movie.
An old science fiction movie, and
you see them in a music store. And they have this kind of sterile five. And they seem to imply that it has to look like that to sound like that. It's an electronic thing. But I would check that because these are just objects that I'm hitting. And it's digital. So it's completely arbitrary. It could be anything. It's not musical instrument. It's hitting an object. He, you know what I mean? So, it's a surreal disconnect, because the whole digital interface is arbitrary and surreal. It's all just made up arbitrary stuff. So really, conceptually, it would be a shoe and an iron and a brick and a book, you know what I mean? But that would be a hassle to play. And also, that's just not how it really happened. How it really happened was back in the 80s When I was part of the club scene, I was working with gates. And I had this thing where I would have a gate controlled by a microphone. So I would speak or tap a microphone and some tape loop would come out of some completely different sound. And then one day when I was walking past this local stereo store they had in their $1 junk bin, a wireless mic and receiver for $1. And I took it home it was really, really crappy. it no matter how close I was changed, the battery was horrible, but I could, I could yell at it, or I could walk it and there would be something that would just rise above the noise floor. But then I realized, Oh, I control a gate. I don't have to hear noise. I could just have a threshold with a trigger and control a gate. So then I thought oh, I'll put this wireless mic inside an object. And so I I thought of a shoe and it just fit easily in a shoe and then the next time I performed on Avenue a I had the shoe and was whacking it with a drumstick and it was this performative thing. And then when I was trying to do more developed compositions, I just thought, okay, more shoes, and I couldn't let go. Because I didn't want to do that electronic drum pad thing. So it's not as if I had the drum pad or the octave pad or the are the Simmons, you might you might know those names, and then abandon it. It was more like I had triggers that were surreal. And I just, it would believe me, it would be easy if I went out and bought one of those things, because the shoes they break down, they need to be repaired. But I just I can't. I have to keep that wacky, surreal thing as part of the show, because I want to keep on hitting people with how, how silly and arbitrary it is. Yeah, it
works. I think it gets that message across. So I want to know, did you upgrade from the crappy microphone or did you go out and buy 50 those are no,
no, no, they're wired.
The shoes are wired and they have pieces of transducers in them and they go to a commercial store bought at least this D for drum module, which is designed to convert audio into into MIDI. So it's given me MIDI and they're very nice sensors it responds well under a millisecond and each each trigger has parameters so that you can lock out leakage from the neighboring trigger and these were designed to be put on drum drum sets were these these tom toms you know, that are vibrating like crazy. So you really have to watch out like when you whack this one, the other one is going to respond heavily, much like much like the camera when the bass was hitting um, uh, and so there's a threshold to mask out that crosstalk and then again, it's I don't know if I said this earlier, but the basic scheme of radio Wonderland is input is 100% public Box processing is 100% max MSP and controllers are 100% MIDI. And I'm not I don't know when that's going to change. I know that there are higher resolution protocols like OSC and I'm still kind of on the fence with radio Wonderland 2.0. As to how I want to how I want to do that, frankly, it's shocking, you know, I'm really into precision and I used to teach MIDI at NYU also and, you know, that MIDI pitch band and a lot of the MIDI continuous controller protocols, although they provide for 14 bid precision 16,384 increments or something. In most cases, that's just not implemented by the big manufacturers like Roland and such. They're just using 128 because it doesn't matter which is which is not yet it's it's, it's just very funny what our ears have tolerance for and what they don't
say so yeah. I don't The other thing I was wondering about, you have this a boombox and radio is becoming increasingly digital, and rang, you know, you don't have too much longer before some of those stations probably are not even going to be, you know, broadcast that's happened with digital TV, for example, digitally hasn't had quite that
transformation. Well, yeah. And there was a few years ago yet when radios were being marketed as about to go digital. I went to I went to stereo exchange in New York City, and they were telling me like, Oh, just forget it, you know, it's just gonna be a few years. The new generation is coming. It's gonna be just like digital TV, but it hasn't happened yet. I am willing to do the digital radio when it is as responsive as my boombox or mine the static In fact, it's kind of fun to sample static and sometimes I'll tune between stations and and trigger the shoes with that with that noise. It's really It's a very colorful white noise, but put it that way. Um, when digital radio is that responsive, I'll go for it. But until that I really hope the analog radio stays. And perhaps I'll focus my performances abroad. Actually, I haven't even thought of that this particular question since the virus came, because who knows if I'm going to be traveling abroad to do gigs. I've performed a lot of other countries in the past and I could see trying to go to places where radio was that is that ubiquitous? I need the real time response of the knob. But you know, if it does happen, where the digital radio is not giving me what I want, and the analog radios disappeared, and I have to plug in a computer or something like that, I you know, I guess it would be okay.
When you get to it, yeah, but yeah, but we're afraid Few years into
the demise of analog radio. It has happened in Europe and Northern Europe and Germany or Finland or something where they really are reducing the stations. No, it
also you would also have a whole lot of digital. And the thing is one of the one of the big differences that I was experiencing when I was there is in the US your car's an analog radio or maybe on Sirius XM, right? Yeah. Yeah. In my experience in Europe was they had these radios, I could pick up the digital signals. So to me, that's a lot of the reason why you get a regular analog for the airwaves radios. Wait, wait, wait. Okay,
that's a very good point. Yes. Well, maybe if I stick to one of these developing countries like the USA, are these less developed or the under this that this stunted development. If I stay in that zone, then maybe I'll be okay with my analog radio
shortwave So I mean, it wouldn't be the same radio, but you're right. Yeah, but short,
shortwave is become a wasteland shortwave is not nearly as dense as it was. And also I like the FM bandwidth. I don't even use am as a rule. I need I need that, that, that fullness. When I first saw
the boombox, I noticed that as a cassette deck, and I was wondering if you if you ever would mix in, even from a different signal source, your pre recorded tape loops and that sort of thing.
Uh, if someone convinced me to, if I had a special reason to do it, I might. But I like the sound sound business. Um, I was once asked to perform in Philadelphia at a Van Halen tribute event. And I thought about it and I decided no, this is so much fun. I want to be performing these out of town dates. So I also happen to have a FM transmitter. So I had someone create for me a Van Halen, a nonstop Van Halen source file that I then had on my iPhone. And I plugged that into my transmitter, which I had on the corner of the stage and then I tuned the boombox into that station. So that way I was able to do the all Van Halen for fun, but I don't I really like the sound sound. I just like the discipline. Like I was saying before, I don't want to be the guy digging in crates are trying to come up with the most mind blowing sample. It's more like I want all of our minds to be blown by what happened to be on the radio and then use my wits to to process it. Yeah,
absolutely makes sense. We had a couple of questions from the from the livestream audience. The first one I'll mention here is it's just curiosity similar to what it is Asked about tape loops and stuff. Have you ever mixed touch tone telephone noises, these types of electronica noises I did years
ago in the 80s. I had a a tape loop based a one person dub dance band and I performed in clubs. I was known as Joshua. And I had a record out on Atlantic Records. And I did do a piece that that sample but it wasn't sampling because it was analog tape that I then sliced with high precision. Various phone sounds, but then Kraftwerk did it really well on the techno pop album. With the album was called techno pop, and the song was called music non stop. It was the other way around. I think the album's called techno pop. Um, but it was it's like I call it one of the later Kraftwerk albums like six albums after autobahn or something like that.
Yeah, no, I I
I am still with radio Wonderland on this Warpath of sound sound. And also there's the cultural thing of using commercial culture and cutting it up. which is which is really, which is really fun. This was a slip
entirely that's Yeah, the creativity treating object signals, policies, what have you as input and then I figure out what to do with it. I also
have done other pieces. I'm not only radio Wonderland, I've done other pieces that have processed sound, and melodies that I composed in advance. And, and yeah, I've done different sound collages kinds of things. I'm I plan on doing more of it. I actually, uh, in addition to radio, Wonderland 2.0. I have another project that is just in the early stages where it's going to be sound processing and interesting sources. There's a A great musician who's known as antennas, antenna arrays, A and T ns, who's done a lot of work with with analog phone gear, and has made techno out of it. So whoever is asking that in chat, you might want to check out antennas.
sounds really good. And there's a suggestion related to what we were talking about about analog radio blowing away. And it was basically to consider using software defined radio and said, I guess
that's what I was thinking of when I said internet radio, right? Um, but software defined radio includes terrestrial radio waves that are just tuned in and process with software, right? Like your
dial. So I hear it's like, what what is that? Why is that different or better than the boombox right? Doesn't
maybe I'm completely wrong, but just just software For radio only include software control of an actual tuning, tuning circuit that is tuned into terrestrial weights or can include internet radio, I
think I think you can mix in what you want to mix in and suggestion. Okay, that was actually the mix in a time machine. And there's a there's a whole talk in 2018 saying maker radio Time Machine software defined radio. The idea there, which I think might be appealing, is not just skipping around the spectrum of life, but skipping around the spectrum and sort of a x&y axis going back in time and forward in time. Sort of a suggestion,
how far back in time am I going and what is the material?
Well, I mean, this is, I mean, it's not what you were talking about. You said you really love jamming on live radio and I. But the idea is that let's say you sample you have five years of PVC, for example, or some other something else where there's an archive and you can write back and forth in time. as easily as you move back and forth on the radio.
Oh, and there was a whole talk where they implemented this. I don't know if
it was an exact example. But as long as long as Yeah. machine. resume,
We're writing out the glitch. What
happened during the amazing performance? There's still time for one or two questions. Joshua gets back. I'm not monitoring a live live feed here.
We have elevator music. We have an elevator music pump, I think I don't know if we can grab the soundtrack right away. Last Joshua, we'll, we'll hang on for a minute. And I'll mention I mentioned this during lightning talks the other day. This is why we pre record we encourage recording a lot of content because you just never know what's going to happen with live online conference. As far as my connection has been so stable on the last segment once or twice
due to, you know, elevator
We will count to 60 together, and he's not back.
Well, maybe you should die. Yeah, but Dr. joley on the on the other channel, make sure drop in the john Cleese four will take 30 or 60 seconds in the future and then we'll come back and see a fashion show. Hello,
I'd like to tell you about compacts new portable two computer. It's such a marvelous machine that it would be quite unfair to compare it with another computer so we decided to compare it with this fish. Now, the fish weighs 22 pounds, which makes it extremely portable. It will fit snugly on the passenger seat of your car, or when traveling by train under luggage rack.
By coincidence, the computer
weighs exactly the same, so nothing to choose between them so far.
how much can they remember? Well, the portable two has a memory of 4.1 megabytes Pharaoh number of megabytes as I'm sure you'll agree the fish on the other hand, can't remember a thing hardest
Give you a megabyte.
Anyway, I expect
you to be wondering just how much IBM software this fish can run
the answer I'm
afraid none. The Compact Portable to however can run all IBM is most popular software 30% faster than IBM CAD. Ah, so if you're looking for a powerful portable computer that doesn't smell we suggest you buy the Compact Portable two course choice.
Sorry I was miles
away. Of course the choice is yours.
And we're back to the magic of the internet. I'm here with Jasper Free Radio Wonderland. We had a slight mishap with the zoom, which I mentioned, Joshua, while you're away. This is why we encourage speakers.
I'm so glad that you didn't pre record magic. The magic of your performances. Yeah,
yeah. I mean, I suppose I could have but that's been like what I perfected and I just, I don't want to work that way. I just want to do I want to do the next.
Live livestream approaches. Exactly, yeah. So um, so we were okay. I think we're probably done with what we're talking about. We're talking a little bit about software defined radio doing samples back and it's really just a suggestion to some thought that came in. Yes. And I'm
is really intriguing. But I The thing is, if I imagined like I go from left to right
to like, let's say change the station, this is what you were saying, when I go front and back to go back in time, but the same station in time, it won't feel like the same thing in the past, it'll be completely different material. And we'll
see a lot of two dimension slides. I just have to conceptualize that. And so there's a, there's a really cool app, someone might remind me what it is. It's a website, which is internet radios around the world, and you actually navigate to where they are physically. So you can navigate like a globe. Together.
Yes, yes. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
It's, it's what you love. It's live broadcast radio, except instead of coming over the air in Manhattan, or wherever you are, it's over the internet, but it's picking up right on our podcasts. Yeah. You know, another argument
to push me out of analog radio is right now I think people Intuit it. Even though radio is kind of old fashioned. They know I'm tuning and I'm getting live radio. But there might be a time when such as a site such as the one you describe is more familiar to people and radio. And that's one of the things that I like is that this is such an iconic thing, like they know what a radio is. They get it when I start slicing it up, everything is just think just recognize not thinking I really like that. But the time the times may change, yes, you didn't
need to explain it at all. But this is a radio with over the air broadcasting that I managed to pick up it was in the New York metropolitan area on some of the call signs and also there's a density on the dial, and it's not that much you have a lot of places where you don't have that much density. I know. Right? So yeah, but if you want to be in you know, even for example where I am like I get to two radio signals, you know, I got CDC and I get the local you know, sort of pop station, like so that's not going to be a very good video Wonderland experience for the brain. One session together. Yeah.
But I've had some good shows like that, you know, and also there's the advantage that in that community like they know that station, and in New York, it's so completely disparate. Everyone has their own station if they have, if they have any at all. Um, yeah, and New York does not have any a country right now on the FM dial and does not have any a traditional Christian radio, but it does have Christian rock, which is, I mean, this is one of these things that you wouldn't know unless you're doing the kind of thing that I'm doing. The Christian rock is this whole genre that's completely distinct from from family radio, as it's No. So I through doing this, I become this kind of radio hobbyist, you know, with learning what the different stations are in New York and how they how they come and go. Yeah, so Well, I
mean, you're the right place to talk about radio hobby. I think the other the other suggestions would be the Think of a scanner, you know, and picking out what people are talking about on the on the police stand on fire driving on the car. And
I I almost did that during the density of the protests, the protests are still happening, but they're not as fast and furious in New York. But there's too much dead air. And one of the things that drove me to sampling radio is because I was dealing with found sound. And I would put sometimes have an audience person, say something into the mic, or I would yell into the mic and process it. But radio is already compressed. And it has a fixed frequency bandwidth to and it's always on because dead air is a no no. And that's just really, it makes it so much easier. It's made to be sampled. It's made for what I'm doing. It's pre compressed.
And so the problem with the police radio
is that it's just so it's so sparse. But then again, you could take software to find radio that will jump to whatever station is hat is showing something. Well, yeah.
So yeah, yeah. Anyway, she's we're not what do I do?
Right? So the scanners do that they would always your program.
I mean, there's different scanners you there's some that you operate by turning a little knob from station to station hoping there's something to listen to. Right? There are others where you just set it continuously scan whatever set of frequencies you tell it to. And right when there's something broadcasting it's off. Of course, in the real world, sometimes someone's pressing their little radio button or some carrier signal, and there's nothing there's no one talking or anything like that. But yeah, you can scan frequency. Well,
if the scanner looks for stations that are on the air, and locks into them, that's not that won't work. I need I need scanner to select the station that is on the air and is making sound. Right, exactly. But But software defined radio is exactly where I would do that. Yeah, that might
be the next generation. Listen, we'll have a couple a couple more minutes. And I want to, I think I want to ask you a question that is maybe slightly cliche, but I mean, you've talked about it's got to be, I think, at least 30 years of this project and predecessor projects, and we're How did you get started? What brought you to this in the first place? And where are you musically trained? Anything like that? Or? Oh,
yeah, um, the instrument I gotten best at was the drums. But I also got play keyboard and sing some. And I play drums and took piano lessons. And in high school, I was in the orchestra and played in some bands. But by the time I went to college, I knew that I just couldn't be me. Because to be a musician, you needed to be a virtuoso. Or maybe you could be a conductor. But, but you had to be you have to practice eight hours a day and be a virtuoso on one thing. And I wasn't signed, it was all over. So I went to college. And I happen to move into a house where they had electronic music studio in the basement. And I started to get stoned a lot. And I discovered dub reggae, and ino and this room that had this tape recorder and I did make my first multi channel tape loop. And then I couldn't stop. An amazing thing. And if anyone is thinking of going into the creative field, you'll be lucky if you had this thing happened to you. That happened to me. It's almost like a mental game. I played with myself where I was making these tape loops and constructing these patterns and sometimes having a timing signal on the tape loop. to control a sequencer, but I didn't say it was composing. I didn't even call it music. I don't know.
It was the most
brilliant trick I ever played on myself because otherwise I would have been too self critical to go forward because it's very primitive. But instead I was making these machines these toys, I imagined them they would be like novelty games or something like that. And then I was asked to do music for a piece of choreography and, and then I started realizing I'm, I'm making music and, and then I worked with tape loops, and started making grooves with tape loops into this one man dub band in clubs, moved to New York, did that record on Atlantic and then started getting artsy and weird in the 90s. And we don't have a lot of time but I did a whole other set of projects in the 90s that had to do with people wearing headphones and then mid 90s 2000s Went back to the club thing. Only instead of concocting tape loops that I would then do dub reggae kind of transformations to, I decided I would concoct these grooves on the spot in front of the audience made out of radio. And I didn't max MSP hadn't come out yet. So I had this idea. And then like a few years after that, I heard about the software and I thought, Oh, there we go. Because I'm just not a full on program. Right? I, I've done C and I've done scripting and stuff, but I'm not really a coder except for in max MSP. And so that kind of gets me I think that answers. Ah, thanks. So the other thing is along the way, I've done a lot of music for dance and performance art. And I did music
for a film and video, but it's mostly performance art and choreography in my own stuff. So it's not
I would, I would hazard to guess that this is not really a replicable career paths that someone else is going to take. But, but, but I do want to say, but I do want to ask if you have any advice or guidance on on how to, we've talked so much I hope about how to foster our own creativity, I would help younger people to find their creativity. We think about career paths, you know, hope is all kinds of different people coming to learn and share. And I wonder if you would have any advice to share for someone that's trying to maybe maybe develop their own creative spark which you just described your own pathway?
Well, look, everyone is different. Some people can work with a mentor. But that wasn't my path. And I think at this conference, that will not be the path for many. You talked about a nurturing a creative spark. And so let's assume that you're the kind of person that wants to do that more or less independently, I would say
fearlessly that crazy quirky thing that doesn't make sense to other people that makes sense to you. Um, I don't know why but I was content to make impossibly repetitive music and it wasn't developed like Philip Glass and Steve rice. It was like,
really friggin repetitive.
And for some reason, I was mesmerised I just kept going and
find the place where you can be absorbed.
help with what other people may say about it, I think that may help some people, for other people that just, it just may not apply. And then through that absorption, you get facility. And
I really believe in that richness that comes when you stay involved for long. For long, long time, you have to find the fascination that sustains you through the period when you start to develop skills and you realize, oh my gosh, I rationally don't know how to do this. Now I have to learn you have this spark and you get you make some progress and it's so much so fast. And then the progress slows as you see the as your horizons widen. And you have to find a path where that that absorption and that fascination sustains through that and I, I don't have a formula for it except to say,
if this applies to you, I
don't care what anybody says be off in the corner, but most of the other musicians, they did their tape loops, like I took the electronic music class at Cornell and we do tape loops for a week. Well, I kept on doing tape loops for 10 years. And that's what that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. Let yourself do that. And I think that hackers are doing that, you know, you have these incredibly in depth discussions like that the digital text I did, I was getting ready for my show. I didn't quite follow it. But it was a lot of it was in German, and it was using modems to
German, the German version of minitel, which was France, it was really,
really text system. But
yes, but that
kind of absorption to say, Hey, I can stay involved with this German minitel equivalent. Go as deeply as I want. And you get the inner reward and it can turn into a conversation with the world which is what I was lucky to get with, with radio Wonderland. So like, I guess that's what I would, I would I would say, I hope it applies to Somebody, that's great. I'm
sure it does. And I really appreciate you sharing your journey. I think that the last thing I want to get from you because we've had a few requests on the live chat here is just give us the details on this album. And I think some people are interested in 2016 now Okay.
Oh yes. Well wait to hear the new stuff.
But the album is called seize the means it's on a Danish record label. clang clang.cl. Because they're Danish and Chilean lady was claimed on co Yes, yeah. Because because this guy Lars, whose techno name is Lars from Mars is between is between Copenhagen and I forget where in Chile. And it's it's still available and it's also on Spotify. And stay tuned for for the new releases. They're getting close to coming out of the coming out of the hopper. But please come to live shows and also do a live streaming show every Saturday. It's audio only. And I think although I need to catch up on sleep after hope and considered I think I want to do streaming performances in this new world. And with audio visual.
Oh, yeah. I'm on social glad. I'm so glad people were asking. Yeah, well
for setting down the idea of streaming audio visual, I mean, we've had a little bit of that here at home already. It's It's It's out there. That's what people are doing. And just as you were describing people are people are maybe they are hunched over their laptop, maybe they
created. Oh, yeah, yeah, there is. There's
great stuff. And this new project I started to mention. It is going to be laptop focused. I've decided okay, there's all these venues in Brooklyn where that's what's expected. And I show up with the shoes and the we'll have to get there early and drag this stuff around. say okay, I have this hyper minimalist project. And I'll be in front of a laptop and it's gonna be okay. Wow,
this project. It's fascinating. Yeah. Thanks for staying up. It's been great. So
thanks, everybody. Well, thank you. So we've been, we've been talking with Joshua freed, who is radio Wonderland, we got about I think was right around 45 minutes of live performance. And we've had now almost that long even go longer of discussion. So it's been such a pleasure having you as part of hope. And I hope you're also dissipating sounds like you are dissipating in some. Oh, yes. Yeah.
Now that now that the show's over, I get very nervous before a show. Now that the show is over. Yeah, I'm going to be I'm going to be I can't wait to join the villages and the, the hubs are they are they like working it up and happening and I can float around in some Mozilla?
Yes, and I've heard very good things about the anarchist village. They have been wrong. In fact, I think they had his performance up today. I'd be up on the screen. There. Right now they have added a virtual screen that was basically broadcasting a live stream of hope. But the experience in the Mozilla hub is You're like an avatar, you can talk with people and they make it so that you can hear the other people that are close to very well, and people that are further away a little bit less well and so sort of like a cocktail party metaphor with you know, with 3d virtual objects and and the ability to bring in, say, Oh, I
want to go and
get in. Can you get me in? Yeah, that's it. I think. I think
they are open I believe you can find the link on the wiki or drop me a note all the links ended like no, I'm not
like I can find it. Or not
access restricted data. They're on there as long as
you're I just kidding. Like, it was like it was a club.
I'm a full on hope attendee as well. Outstanding.
Welcome. Enjoy. Enjoy it on behalf of all of Lessons hope. Thank you for bringing your story, your performance, your energy, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the week. All right, yeah,
you too. I'll see you in the chats and see you in the villages. Everybody. Thank you. Alright, bye
welcome back to hope 2020. We're really glad that you're with us. Right now we have the, the famous Russell Hansen was a well known bio scientist and bio hacker. So we'd like to pass it over to Russell and he's going to bring you his presentation straightaway. Thank you.
All right, Russell, you're on. Alright. Thanks,
JP for the introduction. And welcome to everybody on the stream. My name is Russell handsome on my hair in the beautiful World Trade Center in New York City. Not in the hotel Pennsylvania, though. We've always had some good times down there. So my talk is about brain hacking, and neuroscience and artificial intelligence, and let's get going.
So, just a little bit of background about me.
In case you don't know me already, The presenter said I'm infamous. I'm not sure that's true. I'm not sure I'm famous either. So, back in the day vice wrote about me saying this guy wants to help you download your brain. I do. I'd love to help you download your brain. I've been talking about it for a long time on vice and the 21st chaos communication Congress in Berlin. And lots of other places. Pretty nice hacker conference is terrible called low card. And I worked as a professor at Mount Sinai for a while on the genetics and genomic sciences department.
Where I worked on brain imaging and
applications of artificial intelligence to brain imaging.
In the live version of this talk, I apologize for not being able to bring in some really fancy brain imaging machines on here we can view a typical MRI or CT or transcranial magnetic stimulation, she can also look at, you know, mice being hooked up to
different types of optogenetic
you know, you can
inject mouse brains with
reagents that cause the the mouse brain to reacts to light and also to allow you to image the mouse's brain using an input in the mouse's brain and here are the mouse's in a virtual environment so, you can't have the mouse working in a regular kind of maze environment you have to put him on this funny little ball. But this is a real experiment. This is done
So, you know,
I believe that neuroscience and artificial intelligence are are really picking up and they have been for many years now, frankly. So, one can use synthetic data from train neural networks you can use highly paralyzed, multimodal imaging and traditional radiology getting MRIs and CTS, pet scanners, Positron Emission Tomography and not animal scanners. In addition, there's traditional medical imaging, so histology and pathology, and the precision medicine scheme of getting the right drugs to the right person at the right time can be hugely augmented by using artificial intelligence. So instead of a doctor looking at a patient and having to biopsy their brain now a MRI machine with a trained neural network can simply scan that person's brain and disturbing pretty rapidly what's going wrong with them. Just By using huge amounts of trained or labeled neural network data.
like this illustration of the similarities and differences between
neural networks and artificial neural networks and real neural networks. So there's the
soundtrack wasn't that interesting anyway, so here what you see is a perceptron type neural network using the MS handwriting database with 2000 hidden neurons, and it's like 1.1 million synapses. So this is a rather old fashioned type of neural network. And
as this video
progresses, you'll see it move through several different types of neural networks from perceptrons to multi layer perceptrons and so forth, and finally ending up spiking neural networks. So humans and mice and rats and chimpanzees and all all, all organic organisms use some type of spiking neural network.
Let's fast forward a little bit. So this last one is a spiking neural network, and then the spiking neural network, you can see how things you know, the structure of the network is really random, and it's still able to perform this handwriting recognition task, but you can see how this you know, this is not this is how a biological brain is organized much like your brain or a mouse brain. Very different from the multi layer perceptron but it still accomplishes the same thing. So sometimes we joke in the lab that you know, a scientist uses his or her brain to train a neural network to analyze brands, which are themselves neural networks. So you have scientists have a multi layer, input layer, hidden layer and output layer. And you use that to analyze normal brains and Alzheimer's brains. So you know, there's no limit really as to how many types of brains can be used to analyze other brains. And we do this in the lab on things like
Alzheimer's data. So this is
neuropathology data, these are little neurons, and when they're Brown, that means they're dying or close to die. They're infected with a disease called tau pathology, and the microtubule associated protein tau grows excessively when want to organisms are hit in the head, boxers, football players and so on. And, you know, what we did is we built a little neural network. And what it was able to do is to annotate. This is a real human brain, a very old person, most likely, pretty serious dementia, Alzheimer's. And, you know, we continue to do this to this day. One of the ways you can do this is using a fully convolutional neural network to go from patches to pixels. So an FCM or a fully convolutional neural network allows you to do pixel wise annotation of brains.
you know, again, this is just sort of the neural network architecture to do these types of calculations. image to image translation is actually a pretty cool area. of artificial intelligence right now. So you can turn a horse into a zebra. And it's just sort of a trick. And what this means is that in a scientific or biological video, you can you can transform one data set into another so you could transform a dimension data set into an Alzheimer's data set or a healthy brain to unhealthy brain by using a consistent loss function.
And you can do it in real time if your computers are fast enough, and you know, it's a little bit choppy, maybe but still pretty convincing. Sort of it. It looks like a computer generated zebra like the lighting isn't right. And it's it's a research project. This is in Hollywood. Now many other different types of neural networks can be used for other types of transformations from different types of brain data. So you can turn a bright field into a true neuron map, and so forth. This is all pretty scientific and I, I rather get to some other areas in the talk. So I'm just skipping through these couple things. But one of the really cool things that I like is how you can use neural networks to do super resolution. So super resolution means you can take you know an image where you can see one millimeter resolution and bump it up to a micron. And in this case, a you know, a three Tesla image Tesla as the strength of the magnet can be transported to seven Tesla by using super resolution. And here along the bottom, I don't know if you can see my mouse You probably can, as you see how three Tesla can a three Tesla image can using a neural network system be made to look almost equivalent to a seven Tesla ground truth image. Again, this, these are our ideas.
So moving on
to brain backups stuff, probably noticed that my talk is called what's my brain got to do with me? I got a man. That's a, an homage to positive K, and his album The skills that pay the bills. So brain backups is a project that's been going for quite a few years to backup human brains. And the goal is to make full scale resolution of brains and allow regular old people to back up their brains to computers and do what they like with them. It does your brain after all. Yeah, obviously you can do what you want with your brain you can also do what you want with your body. Um, you know back in the day before telepathy, people thought telepathy was a science fiction on telepathy those direct brain to brain communication is quite easy actually. So in this experiment, no one individual had a an ag type headset, on the other hand, a large magnet to their, their brain and they communicated with a phosphine or sort of a bright light was displayed in your brain using a TMS coil. And, you know, in addition, the entire human brain has already been uploaded. You can check it out at Atlas stop brain dash map. org. This is a 30 year old woman who died somehow and she had her brain decides So it's fully accessible on the internet right now. It's um, I would argue that it does not have her memories or her experiences. It's really images of her neurons. But it's conceivable that using some of the neural network technologies, like I described in the last couple of slides that this information could be augmented to to provide some of the data that's missing from these images right now. I believe they were ancient, these themes
are just, you know,
just a brief overview, what is the brain backup? And what is it good for? brain backups is actually a trademark name for the connectome. It's a network of neural connections in your brain and some metadata about those neurons. We see that the connectome has many parallels to the human genome. So getting $1,000 genome versus the million dollar bonus outstanding both for us in our workout brain backups and the scientific community as well. There are health applications there are educational applications there are technology applications there entertainment applications as you've sort of seen in many movies starting ladies are in earlier I would say that some of the more sketchy areas may be in the business area. So if you if you know what types of brains are likely to, to buy different products, you can sort of do social media marketing in a way that is unheard of at present. neuro marketing has been around for quite some time, but the better that the brain models, the more money you're gonna make. When I first started talking about this, there was a lot of skepticism. You know, it just sounds like science fiction. I don't believe that supercomputers could model the human brain So back in 2014, almost six years ago now, the Telegraph, the British communication, wrote an article about, you know, what's the scale of acceleration that's needed to do real time calculation of human cognition, frankly. And that number is about 2000 times. So computers were 2000 times faster. And it's, you know, of course, you can spend as much money as you want on Microsoft Azure, or AWS, or some other cloud provider, it's just a matter of money to determine, you know, how fast as fast there are limits. Of course, you know, this is a, the biggest supercomputer in the world or one of the largest supercomputers in the world. So you can actually scale that 2000 times.
on the same computer hardware just As a customer
How's everybody doing out there? I can't watch the matrix in my own PowerPoint preview at the same time, but I look forward to your questions, feel free to send them along. I will do my best to answer them shortly. I think that it's interesting to to really show on a spreadsheet type format, what a Human Connectome looks like, and the Human Connectome, or rather, the Human Connectome. It has many things in common with C. elegans connectome. And so here is C. elegans connectome. This is not the Human Connectome. I don't have the most compact form, but I wish that I did right now. You know, it's it's neuron one is connected to neuron two via a particular type of connection. And the neurotransmitter along function is, you know, glutamate neurotransmitter. There are different strengths of these transmitters. So there's two glutamate score glutamate seven glutamates or five good to mix in this particular, C. elegans worm connects them. Some of them send and some of them receive and some of them aren't gap junctions. And you know, each of these origins and targets has a particular meaning and significance as I imagine at a computer hacker conference, there are a lot of computer scientists and computer hackers and if you if you want to download a software that will allow you to,
to use the 2015 version of the software. There's probably
the firmware update since then, but that's the neural neural simulation tool. is one of the best ones.
And this is what a
neural stimulation looks like.
So this is the seal against connectome.
Running through its motor output of the motor neurons wants connectome, so there is a sonar neuron and a food neuron. And they update and provide stimulus for that
synthetic organism to navigate this environment.
A lot of money has been going into
this space. You know, Brian Johnson, Elon Musk knurling has gotten a lot of press recently. One question that's also frequently asked that I like to put into concrete terms is how big is the connectome in bytes. So the human brain contains on average, I like the number 86 billion, but it's about 100 billion nerve cells or neurons. On average, each neuron is connected to their neurons through 10,000 synapses. And you get about 909 terabytes, there's a lot of sort of hand waving, what's going on there. But in order to fit the calculation into a couple of lines, it's a rough order of magnitude calculation. So that means that, you know, based on a ballpark price of a terabyte of storage, you know, full storage for all human neurons, probably around these days is 10,000 bucks or something.
Or the price of a very cheap used car.
to extrapolate that a little bit. If you had 500 inputs per neuron, and then Jason see lists. You get two kilobytes per neuron and you assume that there are About 1000 neurons subtypes, you get another 10 bits. And if you assume that each input sometimes has 1000 states, you have another 5000 bits, which would give you a reduced number even though your model has increased in complexity, so to say so, you know, we could say that it's between 384 terabytes and 109 terabytes. Also, this information is highly compressible. So, again, you know, the numbers are going down with more information, so 200 to 300 terabytes.
Russell, a few. Whenever you're ready, we do have some questions for you from the audience. Sure. I'll
take your question right now.
All right. Question is, if till out, telepathic can be measured,
can it be recorded or played back
Yes, absolutely tell. I mean,
in this particular toy example that I showed on the last slides, the direct brain to brain communication was really a binary zero and one. And obviously, you can simply record a binary zero and one to a text file or a binary file and replay them infinitely. So it Yes, absolutely, you know, if, in almost any form or fashion, a telepathic information can be recorded to a computer and replayed instantly. I see,
and with the headset that you have, like a ham operator myself, and so it's interesting about the frequencies because I'm sure the brain operates itself at one frequency and does the headset modulate the frequency or something to make it easier for the telepathic to go or is that all organic at the same brain frequency?
It's a good question. Yeah.
I'm also I have a yes to and about fan radio right behind me I, I like paragliding with my radios The suit was much better than about 25 bucks. Yeah, it's a, there are many different frequencies and wavelengths that the human brain works out there are alpha waves and beta waves and there are Heights High. So the it it's very complicated but you know, at some level, there's chemical impulses that
to electrical potentials as neurons fire and these in turn give off electromagnetic fields that can be picked up by, you know, a microphone or a speaker. And these are these are very faint signals and so he he had this is one of the most normal ways to read these signals. And he had said, it's just a little cat with. I'll show on actually two slides. So it's really much. Yeah, I thank you for the question. I appreciate it. I'm not to my slides. So you know, every organism has a different brain, but it's organized in a different to do what that organism is designed to do. So to say. So, you know, a rat has 200 million neurons. A mouse only has 71 million neurons. And so we do a lot of experiments with mice with these very, very small brains in the lab. So the olfactory zone is really large and a mouse so you know, a large portion of the mouse's brain is just for answer that its snout for finding food and smelling its environment. If you as you go up the scale, you know, a copy Berra has 1.6 billion neurons squirrel monkey has 3.2 billion neurons and down here Our brain 86 billion neurons and it's really fascinating to consider all of the different characteristics of these different brains. I can't you know, I'm not an expert on the on the brain or the brain or the Mark said brain but but each of these brands really does. You know, pharma sets stuff for mouse stuff for rats. Rats are much much smarter than mice as you as you might infer from an having a three times bigger brain. Imagine if you had a friend whose brain was three times bigger than yours, they might actually be smarter. Anyway, onto a more brain computer interface stuff. So I was talking a little bit about these eg headsets or any eg headset is a non surgical way of getting brain impulses from from inside the skull to the outside and reading them on a on a computer. And a lot of people you know, the resolution isn't Very good because there are multiple layers of skin and bone and fluid between the brain and what you can get on the outside of the head. And, you know, a direct reading on the surface of the of the brain or on the, you know, the surface of the membrane on top of the brain is really much, much better. And the applications are much more rich, frankly. So, in this example, there's a 64 electrode by a 64 an eight by 864 electrode array with a built it on antenna and titanium housing and hermetic feedthrough. And so with this type of implant, you can really one of the issues is the skull actually it needs support to to maintain its current shape. And so you have to, you have to interface with the stolen provide like a support service. The to maintain the scalp the skull from really sort of caving in on the person or a monkey or or what have you. So this this really has to integrate with the bone of the skull.
And you know many projects and companies and research and vendors have been working on different types of eg headsets. This one the motive POC is one that was quite popular A while back. It's a wireless bluetooth headset with rather poor resolution that uses sailing wetted electrodes, but it's still pretty useful and fun and you know, you can do meditation games and kind of pretend that you can, you can play Pong you can think to the left and to the right, training neural network to read your brain while you're thinking to the right To the left open eg in Brooklyn is one of the more popular open projects are open BCI
and we used to have
so this is a gentleman is using eg headset to control synthesizer. Anyway,
um so yeah, you know sometimes people think it would be pretty wild if they could use their brain to control a musical instrument. And it's pretty straightforward. This is a decent the in the amplitudes of these different pads on this person's brain and they are playing musical instrument Using the brain directly.
Things we used to do for fun.
How do you make a Wi Fi connected brain? Well, you just need to implant the device from the previous two slides and
type if config brain zero up.
Sounds amazingly fun. Many different projects have been envisioned by the federal government including DARPA to bring these things to life. And, you know, the the stretch goal from DARPA was to record for more than a million neurons and stimulate more than 100,000 neurons. In a single I believe it was a cubic centimeter device at the time, and still, there is no device whatsoever that can record from a million neurons instantly. 100,000 there are a couple of ideas and sort of prototypes where they have a fiber optic bundle. And the fiber optic bundle can be used as part of the interface. But frankly, in order to get the fiber optic bundle working, it needs to transfer the human neurons with some kind of four, four or something. And it's really just not a great technology. But if you do have these direct brain computer interfaces, or brain machine interfaces, as they're called, having an exoskeleton or controlling motor cortex is seems like an obvious extension. And, you know, why would the Department of Defense not be interested in these things really.
In addition to using these stents, that is inserted through blood vessels in the brain is another relatively non invasive way to get electrodes into the brain.
This is called the
Centrum, which is a,
I believe still a hypothetical brain machine interface. And it grows into the the blood vessels of the brain and transmits information back down the wire. It's really pretty fascinating building these things. So the brain is essentially a entirely water. And so radio signals work very poorly in water. So if you have a submarine, for instance, you can't transmit radio from the submarine submarine has to trail a very long antenna. So water is extremely attenuated to, to radio signals. And so a lot of the trick is actually to get around Some of the basic physics of
the brain and how you how you could use other other methods to, to sense things in the brain. Whereas connected mapping, you know, we believe that brain backups that you don't want to destroy the thing you want to image, body face frowny face. There are other hypotheses and there are other approaches to this. One is knife edge scanning microscopy. So in the knife edge scanning microscopy situation you, you have a diamond knife and
a microscope that are linked together
and you can slice the tissue. It doesn't have to be brain tissue, it can be kidney tissue, it could be liver tissue, but you know, for our purposes, brain tissue is more interesting. But you know, frankly, this is a post mortem, destructive, highly invasive, obviously, procedure. Another interesting idea that's been proposed is using genome sequencing to enable connectome sequencing. This is an idea that was proposed by Tony Zadar, Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island. And the proposal here is that if you infect the brain with a virus or synthetic virus that performs no harm, and each of these baryons has a barcode in the barcode will be transmitted throughout all the neurons in the brain. And essentially the positive there if you could keep it from being degraded by nucleuses, and proteases, and other other enzymes whose job it is to clean up junk like DNA barcodes, whose only goal is to enable complete connect on signals then I'm After a certain amount of time, you can simply sacrifice the organism take their brain out, and sort of grind it up and sequence it. And all of the barcodes will indicate the exact structure of the connectome of that organism. Again, you know, it's clearly illegal to sacrifice a person for the purposes of scanning their brain, but for mice and rats and chimps, you know, you just need to put a proposal together that's approved by your institutional IRB and you're off to the races. We believe that there are many alternatives, including artificial intelligence and nanoparticles that allow at least the opportunity to to perform novel non invasive in vivo imaging of the connectome. Many of these imaging contrast agents can be barcoded, so few of us barcoded nanoparticles and you can watch it as it diffuses around the brain. And one design is the login plus a contrast provided, giving you a specific targeted contrast particle or agent. And a other technology involves the use of targeted RNA aptamers with gold nanoparticles in order to provide the same contrast. It turns out that this work that we were doing back in the day is still being used as we speak for targeted coronavirus detection. So the antibody test actually uses something very similar to this the, the antibody test is what's called a sandwich essay and a lateral flow device format, where antibodies use these these same nanoparticles with ligands attached to them to to bind to a test line on a lateral flow device.
no, I would say that home diagnostic sorry, this is like Go home diagnose, whereas today you can. A woman can determine whether she's pregnant or not by using a home diagnostic This is a essentially a diagnostic for different forms of degenerative disease. Um numerous studies have have been done to decode what people are seeing in the brain using artificial intelligence or simple blind, simple logistic regression or something like that. So, using an MRI signal, one can get an approximation of what the person is looking at. These neural networks are trained very simply by a person sitting in the MRI machine and being presented with a clip and then they take away the training data and they reconstructed it versus looking at another environment. I'd love to see these experiments updated with With modern techniques. This was the original experiment decoding the visual cortex as well the the auditory cortex has been decoded doesn't work well on
you know, this is a one of these ecog arrays so that these little red dots are electrodes that are touching the surface of the brain and so doing this type of auditory reconstruction is not possible without really direct contact with the brain. So, you know, no one is is reading your thoughts without you, really knowing that they're in there touching your body So don't worry, but you know, for scientists, this is fun.
As I mentioned, you know,
one one powerful approach is the use of contrast agents here these contrast agents, these little black dots are gold nanoparticles with glycine receptor ligands attached to them. The goal really is to augment some of the earlier images that I showed from the brain Atlas with more information about different subtypes of receptors and transporters. And these these can simply be listed out so you know, there are many different types of dopaminergic receptors, so d one D two D three d 45. So, these are five different types of dopaminergic receptors. There are many different types of adrenergic receptors and many different types of GABA ergic receptors, but they all actually have a Gene x session ID or unit product session ID. And what that means is that they can have logins designed for those specific receptors specifically, there's no there aren't very many unknowns. In terms of, you know, the structure of individual receptors, it's really a matter of getting that information out of the brain into some format in a highly paralyzed fashion.
MRI or CT machine images that about two to three millimeters resolution. And, you know, getting to a micron or something like round really is an outstanding goal here is a high resolution CT image of a piece of human brain with a very short scan time. So this was only a six minute scan but it was able to image 10,000 times better than a traditional MRI or CT And zooming it up more, here's even higher resolution neurons drives and some more gratuitous brain imagery. And these are some data that we took on a high resolution, nano CT machine, a bruker and Octa machine. Here the voxel size was 20 microns. But that's not because we needed to. I mean, the machine image was down 2.2 microns, but in order to get this is a, this is a rat brain with a contrast agent. So all the whiteness, Rose blood vessels and a rat brain with a contrast agent that consists of gadolinium. And, you know, it's it's pretty amazing to realize that right now, there are machines that will image a block of human tissue, human tissue or rat tissue or whatever this issue at the resolution we're seeking which is, you know, in terms of the micron It just requires a little bit of know how in terms of contrast to get in just to show up properly. So this is a healthy rat brain. And this is a diseased rat brain. So these rats were part of an experiment we did where they were exposed to blasts, and so the blast exposed like a person was in a tank and the bomb went off. You know, that's, that's the scenario that we're looking at here. So if you, God forbid, know somebody who's been a bomb attack, and you know, there was an explosion very close to their head, this may be what their thermal vasculature looks like. So very, a huge loss of blood flow. So again, this is the healthy rat brain. This is the blast exposed rat brain. Just a huge, incredible pathology. Many, many people working in this area are quite enamored of the idea of nano Robots. And so here is a an artist's depiction of what a nano robot might do were to cruise around the brain and try to determine what is the current activity from neuron one. So they're on to or they're on 50 million to neuron 16,000,001. This is not a particularly scientific depiction here, but what it shows is something similar to what I showed on the previous slide, which is a golden particle with dimensions, something on the order of 25 to 45 nanometers with a ligature attached to it chemically. And that like em has specificity to different targets and integrate.
Again, you know, artificial intelligence is a huge advantage here and so this is a block, nine microns by 67 microns by 4.9 micron. of the human somatosensory cortex. And the goal here is to pull out all of the sinuses. So the sinuses are these flat sort of pancake like structure structures in the brain. And a neural network or a modified neural network was used to pull these out. So these are the, you know, the several hundred signups is in a very small nine micron block of human sensory cortex tissue.
Um, you know,
there are a lot of people who, who think that, you know, there's something inherent about the brain that makes it impossible to simulate or, you know, that it's just too complicated. And, you know, there may there are many arguments against that. And I think frankly, over the many years I've been doing this it's becoming more and more easy. to disprove this, but real briefly, you know, brain functions are not computable computability actually has a definition of our mathematical definition. definition, essentially says that if there's a finite amount of information, but it can't be computed quite easily, so, obviously, the human brain has a finite amount of information, it's encompassed within your skull and there's a border, so it's, it's finite. What are the ethical implications of brain imaging? You know, frankly, as a scientist and someone who works in hospitals with trying to improve patient care, you know, it's like, if we knew what was wrong with with people with dementia or Alzheimer's or other mental health issues, then we'd be able to treat them monetarily. So you know, right now, I think that the human brain is one of the most important areas for for science and The more information you have about the brain, the better we'll be able to treat people. Now, in the future, you know, brain imaging can save us from the odds, or at least it's worth trying. So I coined this term, the Russell point. So in the Russell point, human characteristics are preserved by necessity for the human performance first, as computers get better than people. Hopefully, the rustle point will be the point at which human performance exceeds machine performance
and keeps us
human. What's next? Of course, there's a lot of work from companies and DARPA and planned CPUs, databases of neural codes and Ilan moscon kernel and many other companies are working on that. I think that using artificial intelligence to analyze the brain will be hugely impactful in the next several years. In frankly, the optimistic old making $1,000 connectome seems
somewhat easy now compared to when we started this.
Anyway, that's my talk. They telling me to get off the virtual stage here in New York City. But I'm open for questions.
All right. Thank you very much, Russell. That was really excellent. And I My apologies for Miss speaking before, I should have said well known and forget all
that other stuff that I spoke about.
All right. Our first question for you is at hope we've had some talks addressing machine learning and AI, as you were just mentioning about. They are so different today than what do you then what you're talking about with the extensive connectome. Can you comment on the utility of ma attorn Ai techniques relative to what you're working on.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That's, that's a big area right now. You know, there are conferences on how to use brain imaging to augment AI. It's, it's, it's kind of a iterative loop right now. So when we were doing these different studies on using AI to analyze brands, the biggest bottleneck was having a human annotate the brain, because, you know, only a human knew what these different features were. And so I think, having self training neural networks or you know, whatever the next, advances in deep neural networks will will make it easier to image the brain and then there will there may be some kind of loop regarding, you know, a neural network that trains itself to analyze human brains in ways that humans couldn't do.
I hope that answers your question. Yes,
thank you very much. The next question that we have is What about the issues of full simulation of these scans? Like would it be ethical to try and wake up a brain in some software that? I think it might be? Not according to the questioner?
Yeah, that's a question that comes up quite often, you know, the paradox of waking up your your brain back up and having them meet you. You know, I think over the years, the opinion on this has changed somewhat. I feel like it's sort of the great unknown. It's like, you know, before we had radios, wouldn't it be really freaky if someone was like talking to you and your radio, but they were five miles away? I mean, that's that's just not possible. So I think I think it's more of a societal or a climatization issue than it is really a technological issue. I think the technological issues relatively straightforward
Yes, the evolution of things happens more and more rapidly, it seems. So the next question is, are we closer to having a functional computer computational model of the brain or being able to build synthetic biological models of the brain?
It also a relatively common question, which is fine. It's a great, it's a great question. Personally, I think that building, you know, wet brains with real neurons, at the level that that is interesting for any computation or, you know, consciousness is really very complicated and slow. So I think that you know, having to grow in a layer by layer with neurons and having the pure face and then putting them into a body so that it can experience life is not a particularly appealing technology. To me. I just seem to spirit you know, if you've ever grown something in a laboratory, the idea is a little bit absurd. It's just building a 6 million neurons and then getting them into an environment where they learn just isn't going to happen. So I think that it's much more realistic to image the wet neurons and transfer them to a complex computational environment and work with it there. It's just my opinion.
I'm not I'm not hearing your question. It seems like your videos. Yeah,
looks like JP dropped out momentarily. I'm, I'm standing by let me go and read the next one. This is not about issues of full simulation of these scans to be ethical to try to wake up a brain and some software that and I realized you just said that wasn't that interesting to you? But I think this is a question about the ethical implications. I think
ethics are a personal thing. So, you know, to me. Yes, I understand that there are questions as to what could be done, but I think that there are. Yeah, it's it's, yes. It's important to understand what should be done versus you know, whether it's technologically feasible, I guess. I don't I don't see the reason to do it. And so for that reason, I, I have trouble thinking of, you know, the ethics of doing it. Yeah. It's, it's hugely questionable. Yes. This last
one is we're just in our
last few seconds here and welcome back. jp, just in the last few seconds is will we ever be able to have a full non destructive way of scanning our own brains within our lifetimes?
I you know, I
I'm obviously biased here. I've been working on this for quite some time. And I think that the
barriers are coming down at
To recognize features and you know, automatic resolution from a millimeter to a hundredth of a millimeter by just using a neural network is is, you know, it might be the missing piece in this puzzle of how to how to image a human brain a 10th of the micron resolution, which is approximately the smallest feature remaining.
Well, thank you very much. Russell Hansen, backing up your brain here at hope 2020 Thank you very much, Doctor really appreciate you sharing with us and on behalf of all the volunteers and all the attendees