Avant-Garde Mind Control—Miracle or Unethical Infiltration of Personal Privacy?

In keeping with the theme of  last week’s blog on new and innovative high tech platforms, I came across an article entitled Darth Vader eat your heart out: Researcher Controls a Colleague’s Hand by  Channelling His Brain Signals Through the INTERNET written by Ellie Zolfagharifard (2013), which certainly highlights the sci-fi techno-fantasy of potentially finding cures to some of the most debilitating psychological and motor-functioning diseases. The premise of the article is the breakthrough of the “first human-to-human brain interface” (Zolfagharifard, 2013). Two researchers from the University of Washington, Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco demonstrated their experiment by situating themselves in separate geographic sites of the campus. Each wore a magnetic stimulation coil cap over the left motor cortex region of the left side of the brain. Rao sat in front of his computer playing a computer game with his mind while simultaneously Stocco’s right index finger moved involuntarily to hit the fire button. While the technology is in its infancy stage, it has the possibility of revolutionizing the way humans interact with one another; it also opens the pathway to finding cures for psychological and neurological diseases. In essence this premise opens a plethora of possibilities of the transformation of super-human beings. Imagine, curing neurological disorders from the womb such as autism, cerebral palsy (CP) to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While the experiment did not prove to read thoughts, the possibility of rehabilitating the Ted Bundy’s of this world to that of the evangelical Mother Theresa, will certainly ease of slumber of many.

Brain signals from the ‘Sender’ are recorded. When the computer detects imagined hand movements, a fire command is transmitted over the Internet to the TMS machine, which causes an upward movement of the right hand of the ‘Receiver.’ This usually results in the fire key being hit

With Star Wars/Star Trek techno-scientific fantasy becoming reality, it would certainly be possible to imagine the “Spock’s” of this world deterring the most sinister and diabolical mindset in the universe…

However, as with most “Jedi” / “Vulcan” cultures, there is always a villainous “Dark Side” / “Klingon Empire” to contend with, which would violate ethical and privacy issues world-wide. And of course, the question that needs to be addressed is, does technology have the right to intervene or infiltrate the minds of others (knowing or unknowingly)? What protective guarantees would be placed if such technological advances were to come to fruition? And, more importantly, what measures would be implemented to keep the “bad guys” from getting their hands on this? Even as I write my words, hacking sites are popping up all over the internet teaching, by design, the art of infiltrating, spamming, and phishing to any user who makes the effort to learn. I shudder at the thought of losing my free will to make choices to any entity. So, as wonderful as it may seem to have cures for neurological diseases, what guarantees will be initiated to protect the innocent from the infiltration of negative and violating thoughts and/or behaviors?

What are your thoughts?

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4 comments

  1. Gina Lander · · Reply

    Very cool concept… I think, like anything in science, if the procedure were used for positive, there could be amazing results and it opens up a whole new pathway for healing methods. However, like anything in science OR technology, there is always a risk of privacy problems…. I believe if this method were perfected in such a way that the healing percentages were high enough, patients would take that chance…. The problem would obviously be getting such a method approved through the bureaucracy of medicinal and clinical regulations…Thanks for sharing!!

  2. what a fasinating concept. This is only the start of real breakthroughs to changing brain pathways. To correct adictions,and many other harmful patterns in the brains of say sexual preditors, cereal killers,etc. Helping brain funtioning in disabled people would be a God send. Of course there is always the fear that this technology will get into the wrong hands but when you look at the enormous amount of help to so many people in need I’d say there is no contest. “The bad guys” will always find a way to use technology to thier advantage. Thats why we need smarter people in charge of all this growing new technology.
    Great article thanks for opening up our minds.

    1. The technology is certainly booming as seen in a recent article about the first brain sensory artificial limb (which I will be following-up on in a future blog). We’ll just have to keep a tight vigil and advocate for protective ethical legislations. Thanks for your comment.

  3. […] my October 12, 2013 blog, Avant-Garde Mind Control—Miracle or Unethical Infiltration of Personal Privacy? discusses the implications of others having access and the control of the body movements of […]

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