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5 Sci-Fi Brain Hacks That Modern Science Is Making Possible

5 Sci-Fi Brain Hacks That Modern Science Is Making Possible

    Think about some of your favorite sci-fi films. How many of them reference futuristic technologies that are used to augment a character’s brainpower?

    Turns out that not all these movies, books, and TV shows are based in completely in fiction. Modern scientific research is slowly working to make these brain hacks a reality. Here are five of the best hacks that might be coming your way soon.

    1. Stop Sleeping to Increase Your Productivity

    As seen in: The science fiction novel “Beggars in Spain” by Nancy Kress

    Made possible by: Real-life DARPA scientists

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    Imagine how much more productive you could be if you didn’t need to sleep for eight hours every night. In her novel, Kress imagines a world where the ruling class are the “Sleepless”: genetically modified humans who no longer feel the need for sleep, and use the extra time to create goods and earn more money. But that sort of thing is just science fiction, right?

    Wrong. Turns out DARPA developed a drug that replaces sleep back in 2008. The drug takes the form of a nasal spray, and contains certain hormones that eliminate the body’s craving for a nice long nap. According to Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, “It reduces sleepiness without causing edginess.”

    However, Dr. Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, is less optimistic about the drug’s promise. “New research indicates that not getting enough sleep is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders,” said Twery.

    Can’t get your hands on this wonderdrug? Hack your brain with the Uberman Sleep Schedule, and train your brain to function perfectly on just two hours of sleep.

    2. Controlling Intelligence in the Womb

    As seen in: The novel “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

    Made possible by: Real-life geneticists and proponents of the “Mozart Effect”

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    The novel “Brave New World” opens with a lengthy tour of a “hatchery”: a facility where human beings are created in test tubes. Each batch of humans is given a grade from Alpha to Episilon, and has their intelligence altered accordingly.

    While we’re a long way from hatchery technology, solid pre-natal nutrition and genetic testing can help parents give their child the best possible chance for becoming intelligent. Parents looking to give their unborn child extra help also turn to “the Mozart Effect”: the belief that playing classical music for a baby in the womb can increase its intelligence.

    This theory does have some scientific basis, and was first brought to the attention of the general public after being mentioned in a 1993 in the journal “Nature”. Not every scientist agrees, however…but maybe after another decade of research, we’ll have more power to alter intelligence in utero.

    3. Altering or Retrieving Memories

    As seen in: The indie sci-fi flick “Sleep Dealer”

    Made possible by: Real-life neuroscientists and researchers

    In “Sleep Dealer,” a woman sells her memories, which can then be uploaded into the minds of other people. And while altering or retrieving memories in this fashion seems far-fetched, a Wired article hints at a possible technology for boosting or retrieving memories using a PDA in the future.

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    According to the article, “Researchers have found a telltale mental signature that predicts whether an experience will be remembered. Once deciphered, the signals could be used to help people know when their brains are primed to remember, perhaps using an iPhone app.”

    “There’s no reason not to believe that this is possible,” added one of the researchers. “It could be part of a PDA.”

    4. Brain-Computer Interface Chips

    As seen in: The TV show “Fringe”

    Made possible by: Real-life sleep researchers

    On the “Fringe” episode entitled “Dream Logic,” the team encounters a man with a Brain-Computer Interface Chip. The chip was originally installed to help the man control his sleepwalking, but instead the chip malfunctions and causes the patient to attack his co-workers.

    These types of chips do exist in real life. According to Dr. David Carley, they have even been used on humans. “For example, deep-brain-stimulating electrodes have been used in an attempt to treat intractable epilepsy,” Carley says. “However, BCIs have not been used in an attempt to control sleep cycles.”

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    5. Brain Treatments to Reverse Mental Handicaps

    As seen in: The film “The Lawnmower Man”

    Made possible by: A study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    In “The Lawnmower Man”, a doctor uses drugs, virtual reality treatments, and direct brain stimulation to increase the intelligence of a handicapped man. The mentally handicapped gardener learns Latin overnight and also becomes telepathic.

    Telepathy is definitely off the table (for now), but researchers at MIT have been able to reverse Fragile X syndrome in mice. Fragile X is one cause of both autism and mental deficiency. According to reports from the BBC, “The researchers, based at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, targeted an enzyme called PAK which affects the number, size and shape of connection between brain cells. They found that inhibiting the enzyme stopped mice with Fragile X Syndrome behaving in erratic ways.”

    What sci-fi brain hack are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

    Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

    Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

    In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

    1. ScheduleOnce

      ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

      ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

      ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

      Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

      Available on Web

      2. Calendly

        Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

        You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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        Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

        3. Assistant.to

          For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

          From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

          While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

          Available on Web

          4. Acuityscheduling

            Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

            It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

            Available on Web | iOS | Android

            5. Pick

              Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

              At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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              Available on Web

              6. X.ai

                For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                Available on Web

                7. YouCanBook.me

                  is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                  They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                  Available on Web

                  8. Doodle

                    Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                    It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                    You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                    While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    9. WhenAvailable

                      WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                      Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                      Available on Web

                      10. Rally

                        Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                        Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                        Available on Web

                        11. NeedtoMeet

                          Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                          NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                          While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                          Available on Web

                          Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                          In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                          To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                          Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                          A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                          Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                          If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                          Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                          With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                          Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                          Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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