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How is the field of Neuroscience expected to change in the near future?

I am extremely interested in pursuing a degree in Neuroscience because of how vast the field is and the fact that the field encompasses biology and psychology. I don't really know what to expect from pursuing this field of study, and I was hoping someone could help me see how this field is expected to evolve in the near future. #psychology #biology #neuroscience #college-major


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Melanie’s Answer

Neuroscience is trending towards Big Data in general. Recordings, such as EEGs and LFPs, generate a lot of data that allow scientists to understand the structural connections in normal subjects and with a therapy or in response to a stimulus. Also, scientists are using these signals to sense and manipulate the nervous system. The ability to analyze these data sets is an important skill.

That being said, there are so many amazing methodologies to answer scientific questions, such as optogenetics. My advice would be to look at the different Neuroscience labs on your campus and find a few that interests you, set up an informational interviews with the professors (professors love to talk about their research) and possibly volunteer in the labs. This would allow you to learn some basic methodologies in the Neuroscience field.

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G. Mark’s Answer

My personal opinion, and not shared by everyone, is that Artificial Intelligence will invade just about every profession. And Neuroscience is a natural fit. The reason is that AI will incorporate Machine Learning and Deep Learning. These require data -- lots of it. Big Data is being generated by just about everything around us these days, because anything that incorporates any sort of sensors to observe a system and then send the result to a processing unit or cluster, will be sending huge amounts of information describing our world. The machines will learn like humans do. The difference is that these machines will be accumulating and sharing and using data continuously. And they will never forget what they learn. The reason that Neuroscience is a prime target is that these machines will be emulating the thought processes -- or at least the decision-making processes -- that human brains (and other animals') do. The complexity of the human brain makes understanding it a daunting task for any other human mind to do. But machines are tireless, and they will be always looking for patterns of behavior in the system. They will find relationships and patterns that humans wouldn't notice in a thousand years. Even now, AI is being used to run Virtual Experiments, wherein the machine will produce the results of actual chemical and biological and other experiments based not on computer algorithms that humans have concocted in hopes that they approximate some real laws of behavior, but on actual prior data from the real world. Neuroscience will benefit greatly from this, I predict. The benefits to humanity will be immeasurable.


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