Nanotechnology and Your Brain

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barin_in_a_vat_en_v2   Aany of us have heard about some of the new nanotechnology that is being developed for use on humans. Researchers are trying to perfect an implant that will be able to transmit directly to the optic nerve center of the brain, allowing people who are blind to “see”. There is also a lot of research being done with rats, using small electrodes implanted into their muscles and nano-transmitters connected to their brains. The idea is that the brain could then control the movement of muscles, thereby maybe allowing paralyzed people to move. This week I heard a researcher interviewed on NPR describing his research into a nanotechnology area that really got my attention.

That this team of scientists is doing is not something that will be used to help heal humans, but something that may transform what a human is. The researchers claim they are making great advances with the technology, predicting that the first devices will be available for human trials in less than 10 years. If the ethical objections certain to be raised can be overcome, they believe people will be commonly using their technology within 20 years. According to the researchers they can make the technology work now, with only two important development hurdles to be overcome. The first a need for much better mapping of the brain, allowing them to know much more than is currently known about exactly what areas of the brain, (on a neuron level), are used in the processing of ideas, memories, and analytical thought. The second is the need to develop even better nano-devices that can be used without any physical effects at all.

So what exactly am I talking about here? Simply put, it is the ability to use a small computer to feed information directly to the brain. This is now the stuff of science fiction, but according to the people doing the research, not all that difficult do accomplish. The end result is seen as a nano-computer, implanted under the skin somewhere on the body. This computer would be wirelessly updated and able to wirelessly transmit information to nano-implants in the brain. Eventually you could have all the information in the world available to your brain. Everyone could in theory, know everything.

My first thought about this was sort of odd…. If it comes to be, what would we humans have to talk about? My second thought was more disturbing…. If you know everything I know, and we both know everything there is to know, well the ramifications of that are too enormous and disturbing for me to really want to think about.

I would normally be quite skeptical that this technology could ever really come to work. But listening to the matter of fact confidence of the scientist being interviewed, and hearing him describe what they can already do with somewhat cumbersome devices, I believe there is a real possibility that, at least from a technological standpoint, this will come to pass. If we have learned anything about technology over the last quarter century it is many people will embrace any new technology that is developed. Within a short few years, most of the rest of the people will come to make use of the technology. If this is made to work, I believe we humans will make use of it. Preparation for this change in what the human mind really is may perhaps be the most difficult societal challenge of the next quarter century.

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Will Sig
1 Bob

Very interesting Will. If you know what I know and visa versa, the economic implications of what is needed comes to mind. If I know how to repair something, like my car or computer, what happens to the person/company who used to do the repairs? I don’t know if this will actually come to pass in 20 years or even if I will even be around, still interesting to ponder, what about 40 years 50 years, 100 years? scary and exciting times, that is if we don’t blow ourselves up first.

Bobs last blog post..Astrostuff

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2 Joey Logano

Very interesting to say the least, I guess well just have to see how it turns out, hehe.

Joey Loganos last blog post..Subway Fresh Fit 500 Race Results

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3 John Hunter

Advancing in brain technology interaction are quite challenging. Breakthroughs are difficult to predict. But I share some of your skepticism on whether this will really come into being in the next 10 or 20 years. At the same time some fantastic research is being done. It will be very interesting to see what happens.

John Hunters last blog post..Iron-breathing Species Isolated in Antarctic for Millions of Years

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4 Anna

Funny we humans want to be superhumans, and then what…I don’t object technology but I think some of the things we try to do becomes unnatural. Anna 🙂

Annas last blog post..The World’s Largest Easter Egg or Pysanka in Vegreville, Canada

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5 Will

That’s a good point, Bob – Brain repair? Even though I have no nanotechnology installed, I could use a little repair!

Yeah John – I am skeptical. But usually researchers are quite conservative in their predictions and timetables. This guy was very confident it was going to happen… and very convincing in his confidence.

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6 Nanotechnology

Actually, we already have the technology to shoot electronic signals directly into the human brain. It has been used to help the blind “see”, as you mentioned, but it requires the person to basically walk around with a computer strapped to his body and a rod sticking out of his head – not very sophisticated. As nanotechnology becomes more affordable and refined, we will be able to cure people of irreversible afflictions like blindness, in theory.
I appreciate your worry about everyone knowing everything in the scenario you put forth. There will always be more to learn, because we can only know what humans have found out. But the complications of such a world are too much to think about, I agree.
.-= Nanotechnology´s last blog ..Scott Rickert, Nanofilm President, Speaks out on Nanotechnology and the Environment =-.

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7 Will

Thanks for that. Good point about only knowing what we as humans already know. I guess a requirement of any such technology would be access to instant updates! Complicated indeed. Plus if we all knew everything, life would be dull. Not being smarted than some people and dumber than others would remove the ability to both teach and be taught.

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8 Nicolas Porter

Okay, myself, i’m in robotics a basic high school club/sport to help me in my future career, my thought is if we make nanotech that works so well. can we adapt it to the mind and instead of say spending 8 hours at the computer typing away we could just do it with our minds? kinda like moving your cursor to move a window but your cursor would be your hand and the window would be on a wall in holographic form. is that even possible with nanotechnology?

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9 Will

This kind of stuff is already being worked on. I would not hold you breath though, but I have been surprised before. The thing I am thinking will really change the world is when search becomes organic or nanotechnology based. Imagine only having to think about something and having immediate access to all available information internally instead of on a screen. Kind of scary, but it will really change the world when everyone can have instant access to all knowledge. It will of course require a human brain to process it, but still….

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10 Magnus Olsson (SWEDEN)

The most interesting part are the Direct Human Brain – artifcial intelegence – Interface System technologies. MINDTECH will do extensive and thorough research into this totally new area, which at this point, is being investigated only by the few.

Implant chip in the human brain.Synthetic telepathy is communication systems built on thoughts, not speech. Multimedia communication network is based. Brain copying is performed around the clock, largely by learning computer, copying is nothing short of serious torture. No one would voluntarily give informed consent to this serious research abuse. It takes years of learning and program development to develop the new computer-brain interfaces and multimedia language between man and computer. Subjects are now against their will has been online for five years on Man-Brain-Computer-Interface. My name Magnus Olsson SWEDEN

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11 Magnus Olsson

Human Implants for MIND CONTROL in SWEDEN
25-04-2010. MINDTECH seeks to establish a network of laymen and media. This group will be dealing with the social and ethical sides to research, development and the implementation of emerging technologies in our society.

The most interesting part are the Direct Human Brain – artifcial intelegence – Interface System technologies. MINDTECH will do extensive and thorough research into this totally new area, which at this point, is being investigated only by the few.

Implant chip in the human brain.Synthetic telepathy is communication systems built on thoughts, not speech. Multimedia communication network is based. Brain copying is performed around the clock, largely by learning computer, copying is nothing short of serious torture. No one would voluntarily give informed consent to this serious research abuse. It takes years of learning and program development to develop the new computer-brain interfaces and multimedia language between man and computer. Subjects are now against their will has been online for five years on Man-Brain-Computer-Interface.

Neurological research has progressed so far that you can hack the neural system is wireless, which means that a computer can communicate with your brain and store all your sensory experiences, and then studying your kognetiva behavior, ie, the ultimate human study. The commercial user fields are endless and it feels no need to explain the far-reaching consequences when abused. This technology brain-computer interaction has happened during the 2000’s and will revoltion our way of life.

Information and communication society is on its way directly into our brains and the ethical debate is non-existent in Sweden and must be urgently addressed in media.We are a company(MINDTECH) that works for this and have come into contact with people who are victims of these experiments. These victims have shared stories and is living in the same geographical catchment area, therefore, Solna near KI, KTH and Kista. The stories are so horrible when as laboratory animals and to test the new technology in the most macabre and perverted ways.

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12 Will

Hi Magnus – Thanks for that somewhat disturbing comment! When I saw your comment I first thought of music, then the soccer player, then the Swedish club hockey player. Then I thought maybe you used the name just as a handle. But then I looked at your interesting website and saw that you are indeed the project leader at Mindtech. That’s quite an extensive website by the way.

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13 Anthony Hopkins

This is very serious!!! I have been illegally implanted over 8 months ago. I have been to the hospital to have sereral brain scans and it turns out that the individuals who have implanted me are hiding the device from my doctors. I feel very nervous but I am learning how to cope with this illegal implant.

Sincerely,
Anthony Hopkins
Dayton, Ohio

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