Are we living in the Matrix or in a futuristic RoboCop world with cybernetic people?
Neurologists and high-tech engineers have joined forces to create what we thought was only science fiction: the BRAIN-BOOSTING IMPLANT. Specifically, this chip works on memory and can boost short-term memory by 15% and working memory by 25%.
Now students around the world can study less and spend more time on Facebook... Actually, scientists intend to use this technology to help people with memory problems like Alzheimer's and other degenerative brain diseases.
The University of Southern California (USC) seems to believe this is a step towards a bright cybernetic future. Professor Dong Song presented this “memory prosthesis” at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington D.C. as the first of its kind to improve human memory.
20 volunteers allowed Song's team to implant electrodes into their brains to treat epilepsy and he collected their brain activity data during memory exercises. The research team found the pattern for best memory function and stimulated the electrodes with it during future tests. These showed 15% and 25% memory improvements over no stimulation and even more so over random stimulation.
Song said “We are writing the neural code to enhance memory function. This has never been done before.”
The cost to deal with memory disabilities in the US cost $236 billion in 2016, plus the emotional stress of family members helping their loved ones. Financially, it seems totally worth implanting a small device to prevent or reduce the debilitating effects of memory loss.
However, what about the slippery slope of cybernetic enhancements and technological control over our lives? Would it be wise to implant something in your brain that can monitor and even control your thoughts? Can such devices really stay offline for privacy?
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are talking about cybernetic brain enhancements and mind reading A.I. but the potential dangers are quite obvious to those with even the same level of imagination as those that dreamt up these technologies in the first place. So why be tempted to stray away from natural solutions rather than towards new shiny double-edged artificial swords? Do you really want to live under an artificially intelligent supercomputer than governs your daily life and that can punish you wirelessly instantly?
It's ironic that in trying to improve our memory rushing towards technology, we may have actually forgotten who we are and what we are truly capable of.