Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Can Machines Control Our Brains?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I have written here from time to time about thought-controlled machine interfaces. This article looks at the question of what happens if the control goes the other way. We're a long way away from being able to implant thoughts into people, but we can definitely influence behaviour - "Laser beams, ultrasound, electromagnetic pulses, mild alternating and direct current stimulation and other methods now allow access to, and manipulation of, electrical activity in the brain." And the people looking into this are exactly the people you don't want looking into this, people like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. It's not all bad. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) can "restore vision and hearing, generate synthetic speech, and help treat disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction and Parkinson's disease." But there's nothing to fear more, I think, than that uncontrollable voice in your head sending you advertising messages or worse.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Apr 20, 2024 02:52 a.m.

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