Man vs Machine Show

Man vs Machine Poster
Man vs Machine

September 2014 saw the return of the ever popular ‘Festival of the Mind’. A weeklong event organised and run by the University of Sheffield. It is a celebration of the human mind and its accomplishment and the festival works closely with the creative community within the Sheffield area.

Looch met with Dr AJ Kennerley, a researcher at the University who specialised in fMRI. Dr Kennerley pitched his idea of a show and this is how the ‘Man vs Machine’ concept was born. The original show saw Man (Looch) face off against a team of fMRI researchers and their MRI Scanner (Machine) (Man vs Machine) to see who could accurately read the thoughts of random members of the public.

The Man vs Machine show ran 20-21st September 2014 at the Spiegeltent in Barkers Pool, Sheffield and was a resounding success. It generated such positive feedback that funding was approved for a second spell of shows, this time as part of the 2015 Sheffield Festival Of Science & Engineering #SFOSE

Is mind reading possible? Claims for the existence of clairvoyance have not been supported by scientific evidence and science is yet to prove the ability of the brain to gain information (about an object or person) through means other than the senses. But recent research using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has provided demonstrations of thought identification. This event will culminate in a stage performance pitting a professional mind reader against fMRI technology. Which will succeed in accurately reading the mind of a willing participant?

The festival was a weeklong event, which saw over 60 different fun and creative workshops, seminars and shows that were free to the public in and around the South Yorkshire area.

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