BRAIN-MACHINE INTERFACES COULD GIVE US ALL SUPERPOWERS

BRAIN-MACHINE INTERFACES COULD GIVE US ALL SUPERPOWERS

ONE RAINY DAY, Bill was riding his bicycle when the mail truck in front of him suddenly stopped. Bill didn’t. The crash left him paralyzed from the chest down. His autonomy, or what’s left of it, comes from voice controls that let him lower and lift the blinds in his room or adjust the angle of his motorized bed. For everything else, he relies on round-the-clock care.

Bill doesn’t know Anne, who has Parkinson’s disease; her hands shake when she tries to apply makeup or weed the garden. Neither of them know Stephen, who went blind in adulthood from a degenerative condition, and needs his sister to navigate the outside world. Imagining the three of them together sounds like the setup to a bad joke—a blind man, a tetraplegic, and Parkinson’s patient walk into a bar. But their stories come together in a new documentary, I Am Human, which premiered May 2, 2019 at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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