Are you ready to have a microchip implanted into your brain? That might not sound very appealing to you at this point, but this is exactly what the big pharmaceutical companies and the big technology companies have planned for our future.
They are pumping millions of dollars into researching “cutting edge” technologies that will enable implantable microchips to greatly “enhance” our health and our lives. Of course nobody is going to force you to have a microchip implanted into your brain when they are first introduced.
Initially, brain implants will be marketed as “revolutionary breakthroughs” that can cure chronic diseases and that can enable the disabled to live normal lives. When the “benefits” of such technology are demonstrated to the general public, soon most people will want to become “super-abled”. Just imagine the hype that will surround these implants when people discover that you can get rid of your extra weight in a matter of days or that you can download an entire college course into your memory in just a matter of hours.
The possibilities for this kind of technology are endless, and it is just a matter of time before having microchips implanted into your brain is considered to be quite common. What was once science fiction is rapidly becoming reality, and it is going to change the world forever.
But aren’t there some very serious potential downsides to having microchips implanted into our brains?
Of course there are.
Unfortunately, this technology is not as far off as you might think, and most people are not even talking about what the negative consequences might be.
According to a recent article in the Financial Times, the pharmaceutical company of the future will include a “bioelectronics” business that “treats disease through electrical signalling in the brain and elsewhere.”
Diseases such as diabetes and epilepsy and conditions such as obesity and depression will be will be treated “through electronic implants into the brain rather than pills or injections.”
These implants will send electrical signals to cells and organs that are “malfunctioning”. People will be totally “cured” without ever having to pop a pill or go under the knife.
It sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, the Financial Times says that British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is working very hard to develop these kinds of technologies. Moncef Slaoui, the head of research and development at GlaxoSmithKline, says that the “challenge is to integrate the work – in brain-computer interfaces, materials science, nanotechnology, micro-power generation – to provide therapeutic benefit.”
If a brain implant could cure a disease that you have been suffering from your whole life would you take it?
A lot of people are going to be faced with that kind of a decision in future years.
And this kind of technology is advancing very rapidly. In fact, some researchers have already had success treating certain diseases by implanting microchips into the brains of rats. The following is from a recent Mashable article:
Stroke and Parkinson’s Disease patients may benefit from a controversial experiment that implanted microchips into lab rats. Scientists say the tests produced effective results in brain damage research.
Rats showed motor function in formerly damaged gray matter after a neural microchip was implanted under the rat’s skull and electrodes were transferred to the rat’s brain. Without the microchip, rats with damaged brain tissue did not have motor function. Both strokes and Parkinson’s can cause permanent neurological damage to brain tissue, so this scientific research brings hope.
In addition, the U.S. government has been working on implantable microchips that would monitor the health of our soldiers and enhance their abilities in the field.
So this technology is definitely coming.
But it must be very complicated to get a microchip implanted into your brain, right?
Actually it is fairly simple.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the typical procedure is very quick and it often only requires just an overnight stay in the hospital:
Neural implants, also called brain implants, are medical devices designed to be placed under the skull, on the surface of the brain. Often as small as an aspirin, implants use thin metal electrodes to “listen” to brain activity and in some cases to stimulate activity in the brain. Attuned to the activity between neurons, a neural implant can essentially “listen” to your brain activity and then “talk” directly to your brain.
If that prospect makes you queasy, you may be surprised to learn that the installation of a neural implant is relatively simple and fast. Under anesthesia, an incision is made in the scalp, a hole is drilled in the skull, and the device is placed on the surface of the brain. Diagnostic communication with the device can take place wirelessly. When it is not an outpatient procedure, patients typically require only an overnight stay at the hospital.
But is it really safe to have a device implanted into your head that can “talk” directly to your brain?
Many large corporations are banking on the fact that in a world that is always hungry for new technology that most people will not be bothered by such things.
For example, Intel is working on sensors that will be implanted in the brain that will be able to directly control computers and cell phones. The following is an excerpt from a Computer World UK article:
By the year 2020, you won’t need a keyboard and mouse to control your computer, say Intel researchers. Instead, users will open documents and surf the web using nothing more than their brain waves.
Scientists at Intel’s research lab in Pittsburgh are working to find ways to read and harness human brain waves so they can be used to operate computers, television sets and cell phones. The brain waves would be harnessed with Intel-developed sensors implanted in people’s brains.
The scientists say the plan is not a scene from a sci-fi movie, Big Brother won’t be planting chips in your brain against your will. Researchers expect that consumers will want the freedom they will gain by using the implant.
Once again, this is not something that will be forced on you against your will.
These big corporations are banking on the fact that a lot of people will want to get these brain implants.
Even now, some video game makers are developing headsets that allow users to play games using their brain waves rather than a joystick or a control pad.
Other companies want to make it possible to directly connect your brain to the Internet.
As I have written about previously, IBM is aggressively working to develop this kind of technology. The following is from a recent IBM press release:
IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens. Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.
Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.
The potential “benefits” of such technology are almost beyond imagination. An article on the website of the Science Channel put it this way:
If you could pump data directly into your gray matter at, say, 50 mbps — the top speed offered by one major U.S. internet service provider — you’d be able to read a 500-page book in just under two-tenths of a second.
How would the world change if you could download a lifetime of learning directly into your brain in a matter of weeks?
The possibilities are endless.
But so is the potential for abuse.
Implantable microchips that can “talk” directly to the brain would give a tyrannical government the ultimate form of control.
If you could download thoughts and feelings directly into the brains of your citizens, you could achieve total control and never have to worry that they would turn on you.
In fact, you could potentially program these chips to make your citizens feel good all the time. You could have these chips produce a “natural high” that never ends. That would make your citizens incredibly dependent on the chips and they would never want to give them up.
This kind of technology has the potential to be one of the greatest threats to liberty and freedom in the history of mankind.
At first these implantable microchips will be sold to us as one of the greatest “breakthroughs” ever, but in the end they could end up totally enslaving us.
So I will never be taking any kind of a brain implant, and I hope that you will not either.