A “citizen science” community to test the hypothesis that the uniqueness of a person, from memories to mental disorders, lies in his or her connectome.
Every person is unique. You know this, of course, but it has been surprisingly difficult to pinpoint where, precisely, your uniqueness resides. Scientists have speculated that the properties of your mind, from memories to mental disorders, are encoded in the unique pattern of connections between your brain’s neurons. This hypothesis is plausible, but solid evidence has been lacking, because we have never been able to see the brain’s “wiring” clearly. Fortunately, revolutionary new technologies are starting to provide the right kind of images, but in torrents that are so overwhelming that no single person can comprehend the data.
The solution is WiredDifferently, which will enlist “citizen scientists” to analyze nanoscale brain images using web browsers and mobile devices. They will trace the “wires” of the brain as if absorbed in play with a 3D jigsaw puzzle consisting of image pieces computed by artificial intelligence. The experience will rely on the spectacular graphics and other motivators of video gaming, but allow users to apply their minds to a worthy cause. WiredDifferently will transform 21st century science and society by mobilizing our collective hearts and minds to understand how the brain works and why it malfunctions.