If I lived in a world that made it possible, I would be a supervillain or, at the very least, an antihero. There, I admitted it to all of Weber State University that, if push came to shove, I would probably be a villain in some kind of story. Now, before you all get all judgey about my personality flaws, let me explain.
Very rarely do we actually stop and think that, one day, the science and technology that is used to put the world in peril in our favorite stories may actually be developed. There could never, ever be Skynet utilized by our military that could bring the robotic apocalypse. There’s never going to be a genetic advancement of humans that could lead to mutant-vs.-human wars, but I promise you, there are technological advances today that society, even 50 years ago, couldn’t fathom existing.
Harvard University has come out with some pretty interesting technology recently. It raises the question for me of whether or not a line has been crossed in the morally and ethically blurry lines of science.
Mind control is something straight out of science fiction. It seemed something that could never be anything but just that: fiction. However, Harvard University has developed a non-invasive brain-to-brain interface. I love their constant use of the word “non-invasive.” This is their fancy word for not scaring the bejeezus out of us.
Quite simply, Harvard has created a device that can control the actions and movements of another living entity.
Harvard published its findings in the “PLOS ONE” journal earlier this year. Scientists used a transcranial-focused ultrasound to modulate the neural activity in specific parts of the brains as a computer-to-brain interface. The brain-to-computer interface translates brain functions into computer commands. Using these devices, scientists were able to create a functional link between the brains of not just two humans, but of two different species.
Scientists successfully hooked up a human and rat to this interface. Through this interface and several triggers, including a strobe-light effect on a computer screen, the human was successfully able to make the rat move its tail.
So now we know that mind control technology is, in fact, possible. It may be in its baby stages, but we know that connection between two minds is now open to be explored by scientists.
Most of your first reactions may be similar to mine. What if someone used that on me or someone of importance? Flashes of “Harry Potter” and the use of the Imperius Curse come to mind. Who would we trust?
The second reaction I had was the question of what I could personally do with that technology. Could you yourself imagine the benefits to your personal life? Dating would definitely be a lot easier. Not so judgmental now, are we?
It’s moments like these in science when we are on the cusp of some great discovery. The benefits may be great, but do they outweigh the possibility of the bad?
Physicists knew that there were benefits for atomic science, but they were also aware it was more likely that the horrific side of the science would be exploited more. Physicists at Los Alamos have been recorded saying that they regret developing the atomic bomb.
Although most of us would love to believe in the altruistic versions of ourselves, we are all human. We are flawed, and so being that we are flawed creatures, should we develop things that could be used to harm one another? Should we even put ourselves in the line of temptation? Although I would like to think that most human beings would have qualms with doing harm to others, we all know there are those out there who would not hesitate in using whatever means they could for their own personal gain. So that leaves us with the ultimate question: Just because we can, should we?