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Brain Chip Implant Technology

Brain Chip Implant Technology
By Stella Law

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TP 201906 tech 03

Pretty soon - and by pretty soon, we mean within most of our lifetime - people will likely be able to delete unwanted memories, buy new ones, and possibly even transcend the optimal intellect the human mind can muster up, just by inserting a microchip in their brain.

 

This is not a mere pipe dream. Researchers from across the world are relentlessly working to biohack the body鈥檚 most intriguing and complex tool using what is commonly referred to as brain or neural implants. And, at least some of these research works have the backing of corporate heavyweights. For example, Elon Musk鈥檚 Neuralink.

TP 201906 tech 04Musk, a celebrity entrepreneur and the man behind multiple successful ventures, such as SpaceX and Tesla, launched Neuralink in 2016 with the vision of using technology to artificially enhance the human intellect. He argues that digital intelligence is the next logical step of our evolution, if humanity is to survive what he views as an otherwise-inevitable dominance of artificial intelligence post-singularity.

 

Neuralink鈥檚 primary objective is to develop a science fiction-like hard drive to be implanted inside the human brain. Musk claims once the technology is available, this microchip inside the brain will give humans a digital intelligence, which will be on par with superior machine intelligence of the future.

TP 201906 tech 05Worth noting here is that Elon Musk is not the only corporate giant to be backing research on brain implant technology. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is another prominent name in the race.

 

While not much is known about Zuckerberg鈥檚 plans, he has previously gone on record saying that he wants to build a technology that will allow people to communicate using only their minds. He even hired Regina Dugan, ex-director of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to head Facebook鈥檚 secretive division overseeing experimental technology, such as neural implants.

TP 201906 tech 06Meanwhile, DARPA itself is toying around with their new closed-loop mood control chips, which, when ready, can be implanted inside the brains of soldiers and veterans suffering from mood or other psychiatric disorders.

 

So what would it be like if all these efforts of turning humans into cyborgs with neural implants succeeded as planned?

 

Well, for one thing, it will be immensely beneficial in the treatment of mental disorders and psychological issues. Additionally, it will also boost our cognitive abilities like never before.

TP 201906 tech 07For example, neural implants can do a world of wonders to improve our memory. The average human brain keeps on shifting between poor and good memory states throughout the day. A neural implant can interfere in that process by continuously monitoring the state of the brain and delivering stimulation as soon as it detects a bad memory state.

 

That鈥檚 just one of the many ways a neural implant can add to our so-called 鈥渂rain power.鈥

 

Now, the big questions associated with this new technology come from the realm of ethics and morality. Should we really fundamentally mess around with our brain, which is the very basis of our consciousness and our identity as humans?

 

There are lots of unanswered questions here. What if the technology is accessible to only a few selected? Will it create yet another class difference in our society -- this time on an intellectual level, rather than on the financial front?

014Will governments have strict regulations in place to prevent potential misuse of this technology?

 

If neural implants enter the commercial phase, they are likely to be pretty expensive -- at least initially. Wouldn鈥檛 that give the financially more abled population a distinctive edge over the poorer sections of the society?

 

Considering that the groundwork has already been laid for neural implant technology to evolve at a steady pace, it is likely that we will have to face those questions sooner rather than later. Sure, it is not going to happen overnight, but that surely doesn鈥檛 mean that we shouldn鈥檛 be preparing for it.

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