Michael Stevens returns to Stilwell to create a brain out of humans
On Saturday, about 300 people will turn into a brain.
Yes, you read that right.
Michael Stevens, who grew up in Stilwell, in Johnson County, is bringing his YouTube documentary-style show “Mind Field” back to his hometown. He’s looking for about 300 people to join in on filming Saturday to help explain how a brain works by re-creating a part of one.
He declined to explain exactly how people will become a brain. But he did say, “We should be able to create something that almost acts like its alive ... that recognizes images, that stores memory.
“No individual person will have any idea what they’re doing. But from above we’ll see the process.
“You just became a super organism.”
A drone will be filming above the crowd.
The show, on YouTube Premium, deals with the brain and various related scientific theories. Stevens also created the YouTube channel Vsauce, which has more than 13 million subscribers. There he asks various questions about the world and answers them.
Stevens’ inspiration for the brain came from the science fiction book “The Three Body Problem,” by Liu Cixin, in which soldiers create a computer using all human labor. Creating a human brain, which has billions of neurons, is a little difficult in the real world, which is why they’re creating a small-scale replica brain.
“Can we make a neuron network out of a crowd and have them learn?” Stevens said. “Are we giving birth to something on Saturday? I don’t know. Maybe!”
Stevens and his casting producer, Vanessa Bond, don’t think anyone has attempted such a thing before.
“It is a one-of-its-kind experiment,” Bond said. “It’s not something you hear: ‘Hey, I’m going to make a brain out of people, what are you going to do tonight?’”
Stevens, a graduate of Blue Valley High School, is happy to be back home with family and friends. In fact, he just visited his grandma in Stilwell last week.
But in addition, he said, “I also hope to meet people who, especially younger people, who might be inspired to think about these big psychological questions. … I show them that it’s not just about tests and schoolwork but it’s also something that’s very creative.”
If you want to join in the experiment, email MindFieldSeason3@gmail.com with your name, age, location, occupation, phone number and email address. You must be at least 14 years old; those under age 18 need a parent’s permission.
If you don’t email ahead of time, you aren’t guaranteed a spot, though you can show up at 9 a.m. to watch from the bleachers. Those under 14 and accompanied by an adult, can watch from there as well.
They will film from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Blue Valley High School. Participants will be provided snacks and lunch.
The release date for the show hasn’t been announced.