And I thought my brain hurt before…
The future is now people! A while ago I posted a link to a report about the first bionic eye and I said in that post that I considered it to be one “of those moments where the elements of science fiction encroach on the ‘real’ world” – well while, this report on the New Scientist site may not quite be at that point yet, it is most certainly something to get all Johnny Nemonic about.
Brainiacs (no, really!) in California are scrubbing up in readiness to implant the world’s first ‘brain prothesis’. The implant, an artificial hippocampus, is designed to help people who’s brains have been damaged as the result of a stroke, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease by (put very simply) assisting in the creation of new memories.
The implants are now at the stage where they are being tested on rat brains before moving the tests on to monkeys. While I’m sure that scientists have not ruled out the possibility of this second stage of testing going horribly wrong, with the resulting super brain cyborg monkeys enslaving the human race, they fail to acknowledge such danger in this article. Although University of Oxford philosopher, Bernard Williams, throws in this paradox regarding this new technology:
“The people most in need of it will be those with a damaged hippocampus and a reduced ability to form new memories. If someone can’t form new memories, then to what extent can they give consent to have this implant?”
DAMN ETHICS! They ruin everything in the end!!