The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has put up $65 million to see if they can find a way to hook up people’s brains to computers (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/darpa-computer-plug-in-brains-lost-vision-hearing-speech-restore-us-military-r-n-d-research-neural-a7835131.html). Five grants will be handed out to five assorted research bodies.
Now, I do hate conspiracy theories. But what we have here is a lot of talk about “developing an implantable system to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world” and it’s going to have all these wonderful peachy-keen medical applications. We also get some muttering about using new technology to produce “super soldiers.” I’m sure The Outer Limits did an episode about that in the 1960s.
So here we go again, this time actually putting up money for it–the Smart Science dream of half-human, half-computer supermen.
And again, the thing is, we already know this is a very bad idea! “Colonel, I demand to know why my soldiers are marching backwards!” “Well, gee, General, we just plugged ’em into Lee’s computer.” “Confound it, Colonel! Yesterday you plugged them into Susan’s computer and they all forgot how to put their shoes on!” You can see the potential.
And it always comes wrapped up in a lovely promise of great strides in medicine, nobody gonna be sick no more, doo-dah…
The only silver lining on this cloud is that $65 million, in the scheme of things these days, won’t go very far. They’ll burn their way through that in a week.
And we know it’s a terrible idea. Every instinct cries against it.
Maybe, just for once, we ought to listen. God gave us those instincts for a reason.
9 comments on “‘Let’s Plug Soldiers in to Computers…’”
There is a lot of talk about transhumanism, essentially its another of mans attempt to be as gods. So much technology in the hands of fallen man can’t possibly end well. No wonder that Jesus said if He didn’t return no flesh would be saved. The human race is certainly adept at destroying itself.
Frankenstein’s monster is fast approaching (and is probably already here). Satan intends for us to tinker ourselves out of existence. Jesus will put a stop to it once and for all.
Watchman, you all but read my mind. I too see this as a reiteration of “ye shall be as gods”. I’m all for medical assistance which helps the infirm to lead better lives, but this goes beyond help and becomes interference.
Earlier today, I saw a video of an experiment which allowed them to control the flight of a Dragonfly remotely. The video presented this as a proud achievement, but I couldn’t bear to watch it. Even an insect deserves its free will.
At the root of all this lies a disdain for life itself. Life is a gift from the Creator and comes exclusively from Him. He is the source of my life, and the source of a Dragonfly’s life. Every human embryo conceived is a result of our Creator’s gift to mankind, the gift to procreate given in conjunction with the commandment, the first commandment give to mankind, which is to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” What an amazing blessing!
Yet the god of this world, Satan, wants to work in the other direction, warning us that the earth is overpopulated and that the human race will face extinction if we don’t disobey this command. Yahweh is the God of life, Satan is the god of death. Satan’s disdain for human life is at the root of all this.
When humans are plugged into computers, what makes everyone think the computers will enhance the humans? Maybe the humans will just slow down and/or confuse the computers. 🙂
Please–they’re confused enough already!
Phoebe, I like your idea! Humans and computers both have at least occasional glitches, so confusing and/or slowing down the computers might be fun! Payback 🙂
The whole thing is a pipe dream. There is no equivalence between the human brain and computers. Humans and computers cannot share “thoughts”.
However, probes can be inserted into brains and computers can be used to control voltages sent to these probes. Such a thing is already being employed for Parkinson’s patients and sufferers of certain types of seizure disorders. (There is a theory that Hillary has such an implant for Parkinson’s.) Computers can be used in this way to affect the brain, but not directly the thoughts.
The problem is that such foreign stimulation of the brain could have unpredictable effects on the brain, thoughts and behaviors. Electrical stimulation can have an effect upon neurotransmitter levels, etc. There is a long-standing controversy as to whether SSRIs used in the treatment of depression can cause suicidal impulses. I don’t claim to have the answer to that one, but I also question whether medical science can truly understand the potential consequences of direct electrical stimulation of brain cells. The other question would be the risks if the computer controlling this were to malfunction and possibly overstimulate the target within the brain.
I doubt that we will ever see humans in mindless trances marching to the orders of a computer connected to their brains, but we could see humans incapacitated by the intentional misuse, or incompetent use of computers connected to probes inserted in the brain.
Risks? Every computer, sooner or later, malfunctions. It’s not a risk, but a certainty.
As for humans marching around in mindless trances… Democrats already do that.
Absolutely. As I type, I am dealing with just such a failure. It’s a solid release of Windows Server running on good quality hardware, but it has developed some strange computer psychosis after less than a year in service. This is the rule, not the exception. Many of my servers begin to accumulate problems and require intervention within a year or two after being placed in service. My point is simply that computers are not reliable enough to become a permanent part of a human’s existence.
“As for humans marching around in mindless trances… Democrats already do that.”
Reminds me of a famous Bob Hope movie line. Someone is explaining zombies to him as “walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.”
To which Hope replies: “You mean like Democrats?” 🙂