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The brain chip…

Our ability to do things with technology far exceeds our ability to understand implications. Consider the brain chip: “Intel researchers in Pittsburgh told journalists today that brain implants are harnessing human brain waves to surf the Internet, manipulate documents, and much more”.
This got me thinking about how far I would go to adopt technology. Or humanity as a whole. Do you have a limit? Is there a point at which you would say “no more”. And if you (we) did, would it matter? Would it abate development? Is transhumanism our future? Will technology always lead and humanity simply follow where it goes?

2 Comments

  1. Nicola wrote:

    Totally by coincidence today, I found out about deep brain stimulation – I was unaware of its existence until about two hours ago when I was watching a MJFF webinar (have just bloggedthis second), then found this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV65LimlnGg
    I don’t know if they will achieve something similar with a chip the future (or if you know of anything?). The clinicians in the webinar said that they had seen positive results but that it is an evolving technique. It will be interesting to see how the ethics evolve along with the surgery?
    Once again, thanks to both you and Stephen for opening up your connectivism research to the rest of us and have opportunity to network with others, sharing ideas !

    Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
  2. > “Will technology always lead and humanity simply follow where it goes?”

    Interesting way to phrase that, as if technology were a force separate from humanity. =)

    In many ways, one could consider our predilection for technology, from the taming of fire through brain implants, as one of our defining characteristics. And while the idea of a brain implant or other forms of bodily enhancement may make some (most?) people feel a bit squeemish now, once the novelty wears off and the technology becomes commonplace, this technology will become as non-controversial as in vitro fertilization or lasik eye surgery is today. (Do you remember how controversial “test tube babies” were in the 1980s? Yet for most people just 20 years later, in vitro fertilization is not controversial at all.)

    The only thing that would make me hesitant about a brain chip is the cost/risk vs benefit received from the implant. Surely just the ability to load web pages and open documents faster isn’t worth the risks and costs of brain surgery (though relieving severe symptoms severe Parkinson’s for many people probably is). Another consideration is that if advances in this technology follow an exponential curve, as they do for so many other technologies, then that would be a good reason to not be an early adopter.

    Another interesting technology that will likely result in some tough decisions before intracranial brain chips do is artificial eyes: Would you be willing to replace your biological eyes for artificial ones that offered far sharper vision, telephoto zoom, the ability to see in the dark, the ability to record and replay everything you see, and augmented reality overlays?

    Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink