Hacking the Human Brain

November 25, 2013
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AsapSCIENCE (look these dudes up) put out a video recently talking about hacking into the human brain. All it would take, says the folks over at Asap, is wiring in the right laser light receptor things into certain parts of the brain, then lasering in to that specific brain-mush to make the body do all kinds of things. I’d try and explain further, but as you all know, I am not your #1 source for science (I just dig it), so for the legit explanation look up their videos. What I can say now, though, is that the idea is terrifying but ultimately awesome.

hacking the brainBeing able to hack into the human brain probably wouldn’t yield superpowers like it does in the comics and movies, but the possibilities are exciting. In the clip, the science folks explain that being able to fiddle with certain parts of the brain means that some bad brain ailments could be treated with the alleged lasers. Depression and other mind maladies might be bounced out of the brain if the right cells are targeted and fixed up. This to me sounds awesome (folks wouldn’t have to be at the mercy of their downer brains).

But of course, there’s the terrifying part where we realize that we’re literally hacking brains. Sure, it has endless helpful outlets, like treating depression and such, but isn’t the ability to toy with the cells within the mind a little much? We already control a good deal of thoughts via advertising; it may be a good idea to stop at actual control. In the Asap video, they cite an experiment in which a mouse is implanted with the fiber optic wiring necessary to laser your way into the brain. They use the wiring to hack into the motor cortex and make this little mouse run in a circle against its tiny will. I’m already against cosmetic testing against animals; this is a step in a crazy direction.

In general, I’d say too much technological control is a nightmare, but this brain hacking business really has the possibility to help people. The brain is a scary pile of cells that can give out on us in a variety of ways, so we should be able to stop it from messing with us. However, the other possibility, where scientists dig into our consciousness and free will – that can’t be rad. I certainly wouldn’t want a bunch of dudes tapping into my free will and making me run around in circles, or forcing me to do unsightly things to friends and family (or folks I don’t know).

Let’s hope that if this technology is proliferated, the madness will be kept to a minimum. I fear robot uprisings as much as the next guy, but at least robots killing us all wouldn’t be as bad as fellow humans mind-controlling us into some sort of police state/totalitarian regime of evil scientists (I guess robot revolution could also come after that). Either way, I’m just hoping for the beneficial use of a technology that could have a few unsavory outcomes.

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