Saturday, May 19, 2012

Technology Exceeding Boundaries

A recent research in United States has allowed a paralysed woman to drink a cup of coffee with the help of a robotic arm. The arm is 'thought-controlled', i.e. it gets inputs from the thought process happening inside the human mind.

Scientists inserted a 96 hairpin electrode inside the motor cortex- a region inside the brain which deals with bodily movements. The electrode picks up neuron fluctuations which goes to the computer, which than translates these fluctuations into commands for the robotic arm. 

Scientists believe that in future they would be able to put the computer inside the patient's brain allowing all his limps to be connected without any exterior intervention.


Personally speaking, this technology is remarkable in all respects. The old proverb, 'Nobody knows what's going inside our mind', now needs to be amended. If feeling and emotions are regarded as chemical reactions,  than there are many reasons to conjecture that these areas can also be activated through external stimuli.

Thinking and feeling has always been an individual's private area having no connections with the outside world. It remained an encrypted world where great ideas come into existence, allowing man to change the world around him.

Not just ideas, brain is the centre of all the trivial actions we perform  in our daily lives. From boiling an egg to driving a car. It is here - inside the brain - where billions of neurons interact allowing us to perform our everyday tasks.

If scientists are able to control the motor cortex region of our brain, than -in my opinion- it's not  an overestimation to conjure that they will be able to control the psychological fluctuations going on inside us. This simply means that no intention or will would remain a private matter. A new discourse on ethic will be developed, trying to formulate limits on 'psychological freedom'. 

Imagine what might happen if 'psychological freedom' becomes a public issue. It will allow the people to read the mind of their politicians and judge their political alignments before-hand. At least in a country like Pakistan, this is really a big problem. Many politicians who now criticize the army while they themselves are their products. If the citizens are allowed to read the politicians' mind, it will be a touch-stone for recognising the fake ones amongst the real!

This technology might also create a 'multi-soul syndrome'. Multi-soul syndrome -a termed coined by me - is a problem in which a single human brain is in power to control the limbs of others. Neuron fluctuations, which controls the limbs of an individual, might be transferred (through wire-less technologies) to someone else's brain in order to replicate the actions of the prime mover. 
             This creates a moral dilemma. Will the prime mover be responsible for the actions of the secondary bodies? Let's suppose one of the secondary mover kills another secondary mover, both of whom were being controlled by the same prime mover. Will this be called a suicide or a murder? The prime mover actions were replicated by the secondary mover, but it was the secondary mover who got killed.

This technology is going to start a new philosophical discourse!

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