Brain Implants and what it really means for society

Brain implants have been around for years with one of the first being the Cochlear Implant which improved hearing ability. In recent years, more and more medical devices have been toggling with the capabilities of brain implants to cure diseases, medical conditions and birth defects.

The Deep Brain Stimulator is a brain implant that has been rolled out within the last few years to cure diseases such as Parkinsons. It uses two electrodes connected to the brain that interrupt the synapse between nerves. This means that the implant is able to alter the information the brain receives in order to change the motion of the body. This is the first wave of invasive brain implants with the capability to control movement and interrupt normal bodily function.

In March, Elon Musk announced his company Neuralink will be creating Brain Computer Interfaces as the next iteration of brain implants. However, this implant is a device from the Internet of Things meaning that it is connected to the internet. An Internet connectivity means that the implants ability is infinite allowing humans to control machines using their brain and access information in real time. The Brain Computer Interface also has health benefits where it can help a person with severe brain injuries to regain motor skills. However, this poses many risks with security, surveillance, control and privacy.

I sat down with Dr Christopher Moore and Internet of Things expert Ted Mitew to discuss the implications of the next iteration of brain implants on society in regards to surveillance and control.

Brain Implants that are connected to the internet compromises the privacy of the mind. With the commercialisation of brain implants, this means that the government and co-operations have control over the mind. So who has the right to be able to read our thoughts? Store our data? Sift through our memories? Singularity Hub put forward four human rights to protect humanity from the hands of the brain implant controllers.

The innovation of brain implants are constantly evolving to enhance humanities abilities either regarding their state of health or their technological capabilities.  However, will their benefits outweigh the risks? Technologies such as these position themselves as being a benefit to society, but once humanity become reliant on it, they begin to alter its interface in an act to gain access to all of our data. This happened with our meta data. Society became too reliant on our phones and the internet that just this year we happily signed over our rights to our meta data to co-operations and the government.

Take a look at my case study promotion of this investigative piece here:

Brain Implants Case Study

Meta Data and Privacy

 

Bibliography:

Anderson. J & Rainie. L 2017 ‘The internet of things connectivity binge what are the complications?,’ Pew Research Centre, 6 June, <http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/06/06/the-internet-of-things-connectivity-binge-what-are-the-implications/&gt;

Burkhart. I 2016, ‘ We have entered the age of the computer chip brain implant,’ Business Insider, 4 April <http://www.businessinsider.com/we-are-in-the-age-of-the-brain-implant-2016-4/?r=AU&IR=T&gt;

Gammons B 2017, ‘6 Must know Cybersecurity Statistics for 2017’, Barkly Blog, January, viewed 7 June 2017 <https://blog.barkly.com/cyber-security-statistics-2017&gt;

Funk. C, Kennedy. B & Sciupac. E 2016, ‘Public opinion on the future use of brain implants,’ 26 July <http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/07/26/public-opinion-on-the-future-use-of-brain-implants/&gt;

Markou. C 2017, ‘Neuralink wants to wire your brain to the internet, what could possibly go wrong?’ Scientific American, 3 May <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/neuralink-wants-to-wire-your-brain-to-the-internet-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/?WT.mc_id=SA_FB_TECH_OP&gt;

Sample, I 2017 ‘New Human Rights to protect against ‘mind hacking,” The Guardian, 26 April <https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/26/new-human-rights-to-protect-against-mind-hacking-and-brain-data-theft-proposed&gt;

Thompson. M 2017, ‘Elon Musk’s new idea is to connect our brains to the internet,’ 31 May <https://www.forbes.com/sites/melissathompson/2017/05/31/elon-musks-next-idea-is-to-connect-our-brains-to-the-internet/2/#3c5600532ed5&gt;

 

Journalism 301 Investigative Assignment

 

 

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