The Brain Implants That Could Change Humanity

The Brain Implants That Could Change Humanity

Publication Title
The New York Times
Publication/Creation Date
August 28 2020
Moises Velasquez-Manoff (creator)
Jack Gallant (contributor)
Elon Musk (contributor)
Rafael Yuste (contributor)
Bill Kochevar (creator)
Nathan Copeland (contributor)
Edward Chang (contributor)
Casey Halpern (creator)
Mary Lou Jepsen (contributor)
Arto Nurmikko (contributor)
Jose Carmena (contributor)
Michel Maharbiz (contributor)
Keanu Reeves (contributor)
Persuasive Intent
This article charts the science and innovation behind emerging medical and health reasons to adopt an implanted brain-computer interface. It also questions the idea that it may emerge for mainstream non-medical reasons leading to further digital divide:

 "Still the longer-term issue of what could happen when brain-writing technology jumps from the medical into the consumer realm is hard to forget. If my imagined focus enhancer existed, for example, but was very expensive, it could exacerbate the already yawning chasm between those who can afford expensive tutors, cars and colleges— and now grit-boosting technology — and those who cannot."

It also discusses transhuman motives to adopt: “Certain groups will get this tech, and will enhance themselves,” Dr. Yuste told me. “This is a really serious threat to humanity.” The idea that humans could "communicate faster" also appears in this article: "Every year, Dr. Nurmikko poses a hypothetical to his students: 1,000 neurograin implants that would allow students to learn and communicate faster; any volunteers?" Another pointer to transhumanism "Generally, they say, this kind of tech will be adopted first in the medical context and then move to the lay population. “We’re going to evolve to augmenting humans,” Dr. Carmena told me. “There’s no question.”

Finally, the author concludes "The lesson in Dr. Yuste’s view is not that we’ll soon have lasers mounted on our heads that play us “like pianos,” but that brain-reading and possibly brainwriting technologies are fast approaching, and society isn’t prepared for them. “We think this is a human rights issue,” he told me."

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