Future vision

The visual cortex in the occipital lobe of the human brain contains a very rich and dense set of neurons. Those neurons are activated by light hitting the retinas in our eyes.

The connection from our eyes to our visual cortex is the optic nerve, which is mainly just a fat data pipe. Most of the interesting processing happens only after the signals have reached our visual cortex.

One can imagine a future technological intervention in which information is sent directly to the visual cortex. It is interesting to consider a computer directly exciting the neurons in our visual cortex, because those neurons provide a super-set of the connections available through the retina.

In other words, a direct connect to the visual cortex could eventually provide us with a kind of super vision. Such a capability might be far richer, more detailed and sensually vivid than the signal we currently receive through our eyes.

We might be able to see colors that no human has yet experienced, to perceive textures and visual details so rich and powerful that new language will be needed to describe it.

To people with such an enhanced visual capability, our current visual system might seem woefully dull and primitive. Those future people might wonder how we ever got along with such dim and limited visual acuity.

How, they might ask, did we ever manage to get through the day in a state of constant near blindness?

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