Have you been paying attention? We are fast becoming the cyborgs of science fiction. Scientists are decoding the human brain to create full brain-computer-interface technology.
Our relationship with the "real" world is rapidlyand radically being transformed at a dizzying speed. "Living" transistors are merging DNA with graphene. There is now quantum computing, avatars, DNA nanobots, and a range of neuro applications.
The corporate, military, and government motives behind this techology pretends to be a Utopian world free of disease and death that can be accomplished by fully merging with computational and machine systems.
Now a leading mainstream scientific journal,
The German science journal of Applied Chemistry is one of the most highly regarded in the world among those in the field, and is in its 125th year of existence. It has announced that the merger of man and machine, the era of cyborgs, has already begun.
In their latest review, "The Chemistry of Cyborgs - Interfacing Technical Devices with Organisms" researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) point to electronic health implants that we already take for granted as being a merger of man and machine like pacemakers and hearing or retina implants.
The rise of "smart" materials that can integrate into living human tissues spotlights a future of computational analysis and restructuring of the human body.
For successful tissue integration and the prevention of inflammation reactions, special surface coatings were developed also by the KIT under e.g. the multidisciplinary Helmholtz program "BioInterfaces".
Most people embrace new developments that can assist with longevity and quality of life, and even the reversal of genetic conditions. But it is the human brain that poses the greatest ethical challenge; in this case, the brain-machine-interface (BMI).
BMI are often considered data suppliers. However, they can also be used to feed signals into the brain, which is a highly controversial issue from the ethical point of view. “Implanted BMI that feed signals into nerves, muscles or directly into the brain are already used on a routine basis, e.g. in cardiac pacemakers or implants for deep brain stimulation,” Professor Christof M. Niemeyer, KIT, explains. “But these signals are neither planned to be used nor suited to control the entire organism – brains of most living organisms are far too complex.” (emphasis added)
As the researchers also note, neuroprostheses are the foundation of a true cyborg, where robotic systems combine with a brain-machine-interface to control the external with thought alone. You can see some examples of this mind-controlled reality here.
While, again, many would embrace the notion of effectively replacing lost limbs, or allowing the paralyzed to walk again, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see; this technology is becoming increasingly elective, as well as forming a merger with the gadgets of our modern-day existence. And it's all being done with very little two-way dialogue - science conducts the experiments, gets results, after which it is often dispersed for military use, then trickled down into consumer applications.
Moreover, as highlighted in the quote above, the two-way information transfer is troubling beyond the stated helpful applications. This is exactly what led a DARPA project researcher to blow the whistle on an Arizona State University project involving Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and the efforts to reproduce it through narrative. This can be done from a distance and is anything but elective.
We are fast becoming the cyborgs of science fiction. All that's left is to decide how far we wish to continue down this path. We have reached the fork in the road.