Brain Implants: Become a Borg or Get Healthy?

Neuroscience and Neurology CategoryBrain implants, or neural implants, have been around since the 1940’s. They can allow people who are paralyzed, deaf or blind to function again. Such an implant is a type of biomedical prosthesis that circumvents areas in the brain which are dysfunctional, perhaps as a result of a stroke or head injuries. Brain implants create a bridge between neural systems and computer chips. Other medical research involves drug delivery via neural implants.

Brain implants also have the capacity to be used in more sinister ways.

Why is that?

Neural implants are used to remotely control the brain, and at least theoretically, they could be implanted without someone’s knowledge. Of course that is a remote possibility in countries that have tight controls on operations; I would not be too surprised, however, if it turned out that neural implants are being experimented with in countries that are much looser about patients’ rights.

The New Scientist reports that brain implants have been used to “mind read” monkeys. Supposedly, the implants were able to accurately predict 67% of the time where in their visual field trained monkeys were planning to reach.

In another study, a young man was able to move video icons just by using his imagination.

According to one source, controversial Finnish doctor Rauni-Leena Luukanen, the Washington Post reported that Prince William of England received an implant at the age of 12 so that if he were ever kidnapped, he could be traced. Of course, this does not sound unlikely; however, I was not able to find confirmation of that report.

What the Washington Post did report is that, a Cincinnati company that stores surveillance camera footage, implanted two of its employees and its chief executive with a microchip (on a voluntary basis) so they can enter a secure building that no one else can enter.

  • techie

    Such a fascinating topic! There seems to be many non-medical uses for neural implants that I never thought of. I see advances in extra-neurological devices too. I recall hearing of Mind Balance a few years ago, where a player can control a charecter using his mind. Do you have any updates on that? Thanks!

  • Alysen

    The technology has a great many beneficial uses for humanity.

    The problem lies within the intentions behind using the technology; and, one example of this is during WW2 when one group of people studying the effects of freeezing water on the human body distainfully used people in their studies: The knowledge and the resulting technologies are now being put to excellent use, but the hateful intent behind the WW2 studies add a stigma that often overshines the benefits.

    It is the same for all of humanity’s advancements. The intent behind the actions always blares out so that many won’t see the silver lining, so to speak, with the outcomes. The neural implants are another example, albeit, the stigma has come out the sci-fi world where bad guys are remembered for their technological evilness.

    It is a fact, many people find it difficult to separate the goodness of a new tool when there is a bad intention attached to it. Maybe, it’s our long standing tradition that anything new is used as a tool of war, from the chariot to the atom bomb… no matter why we do it, we always choose the intention behind the creation and use of our tools, giving the tool its reputation and therefore its main, and sometimes only, purpose.

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  • Sabina Work

    I think people should try to cure diseases but if this is the way they were born why change it ? i prefer being human all the time…

  • Johnette

    you would not cese to be human if you had an implant. people have artifical hearts. would you prefer to die instead of getting one? the artificial neural bridge would not control messages sent but just facillitate them being sent

    but since you are not handicapped it is easy to act like you would not do something…… arent we brave?

  • Alicia Lim Ai Keng

    When a person’s brain is implanted with a mind-reader without their knowledge or consent, what can she do? It may be for experimental purpose or to cover-up for some atrocities committed, just in case the target finds out and blows the whistle that will cause infamy in the country.

  • important

    USC doctor Gerald Loeb and Jonathan Kellerman are guilty of implanting un-consenting individuals with a BIONS implant to record feedback to their computers…and they have financial intrest in the semi millimeter conducters that powers the implants.

    Also…. UCLA social cognitive psychologists ….Dr. Matthew Lieberman and Dr. Naomi Eisenberger have been involved with a group of doctors from UCLA that implants un-consenting individuals with a probe that sends real-time feedback to their computers so the can scan for answers to their fraudulent clinical research projects!
    Basically , these doctors are cheats! And they are guilty of performing horrible Nazi-type experimentation on un-consenting adults! They need to be stopped!

  • hey your right

    Dr. Matthew Lieberman and Dr. Naomi Eisenberger are involved in that big “SCAN SCANDAL”!
    They are accused of research misconduct at UCLA! What will happen to them now?
    What disciplinary action will they get, for implanting fMRI probes in unconsenting adults, in order for them to retrieve real-time data during their social neuroscience clinical research projects?

  • gdp

    An fMRI machine is the size of a small automobile, masses several tons, must be cooled to cryogenic temperatures (i.e., several hundred degrees below zero), and consumes tens of kilowatts of power. Anyone who thanks that “fMRI probes” can be “implanted” into a human brain without that person’s knowledge has NO idea what they are talking about, and is wearing their tinfoil hat WAY too tight…

  • Anonymous

    what is BORG ,HUMAN?

Isabella Mori

Isabella Mori is a psychotherapist in private practice in Vancouver. She has been working in the field of mental health, counseling, psychotherapy and movement therapy for 18 years.

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