I had the chance to chat to Jason Silva –a self-proclaimed futurist, epiphany addict, and the host of Brain Games. Jason is a filmmaker and media artist who created a series of short films exploring the co-evolution of humans and technology that he describes as “shots of philosophical espresso”.
What happened is that National Geographic loved the energy and curiosity and the wonder that I brought to my videos. We had to start with lab experiments that looked at each of the topics that we were addressing, whether it was visual perception, or motion or time or lying or all of these different aspects of how your brain perceives reality.
One of the consequences of my short content on the web is that it is very inspiring if you are into short form, super intense, highly fast-talking content, but, it is still kind of niche. What was the most surprising thing that you learned, out of all the topics that you covered? The concept of perception – the idea that our encounters with what we call reality, the fixed, solid reality that we all take for granted is in many ways a representation. I am haunted by the idea of impermanence and I am lending all of my creative effort toward the idea of immortalizing, eternalizing, capturing the fleeting. Hack into the ultimate supercomputer ' the human brain ' as Hollywood filmmakers use color, light, motion, depth and sound to create mind-bending sensory illusions. Jason Silva leads viewers through a series of games and experiments designed to show that the brain has far more than just five senses. It is often likened to an incredibly complex super-computer that controls not only our biology, but also functions as the seat of our sense of identity. I was very excited about the idea of making a pop science show that was going to be mainstream and was going to reach a large swathe of people.


We started with these sub-topics and had brain experts adapt real lab research into these visual games.
Whereas on Brain Games I get to dilute a lot of what I talk about and distil it further and make it more easy to understand.
Novelty and new experiences engage the brain and repeated exposure to them make them stale. It is fairly accurate, but it is represented for us, nonetheless, in the sense that our brains do not directly interface with the world.
We use all of our brain all of the time, but we don’t always use our brain in the best way.
He is extremely articulate, energetic and eager to share how the show neatly intersects with his philosophy of living life inquisitively and re-encountering wonder everywhere life takes him. It was a nice way for me to go back to school and learning basic brain stuff, and then applying that to my philosophical interest and my interest in technology and how those things interface with our brains is kind of fascinating. In the fun new National Geographic series, Brain Games, experts use interactive games and experiments, to unravel the inner-workings of our grey matter. It had to be based on real science, so that there is something to teach them after they have played the game.  So, you play the game you have a crack in your perception of reality, you realize that what you see is not always what you get, and then we explain it to you. Our eyes are camera lenses, and those camera lenses take in signals from outside, turn them into electrical signals that  our brains receive in the same way that your cable box in your TV receives those signals. We can train our brain to be much more efficient at playing an instrument or performing a skill set, but in terms of whether the whole machine is on –yes, the whole thing is on.
The hope is that I can bring to those explanations that same kind of enthusiasm that I bring to my short videos.


To take things they are interested in and in a heady way (sorry to use the “heady” pun) and create these brain games that are easy to follow, easy to watch and easy to play along, but also profound in their intellectual take away. Brush your teeth with a different hand, take a different route to work, hang out with different people.
The other biggest misconception is the multi-tasking myth.  People think that they can multi-task.
It is our job to defy an indifferent universe and say that we matter, we are here, we are capable of exquisite beauty and that is what it is all about. I want the games to focus their attention, to jolt them out of their comfort zone, and then I want the explainer to give them a profound take away that they can carry with them when the show is over. You really get to see the shortcoming in the wiring of your perceptual faculties, and that is kind of amazing. The most philosophically relevant one to me is that solid, fixed reality that you take for granted is in so many way a co-construction of your brain and the signals that it receives. We bring to it our baggage, our prejudices, and we find what we expect to find and see what we expect to see. A lot of it is this dance between the subjective and our past experiences and these sensory inputs that we are receiving through instrumentation.



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