Brain-computer interfaces as addictive as opioids: researchers

Image of article titled Brain-computer implants will let companies exploit your thoughts for money, researchers warn

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One day in the dark room filled with farts you’ll call home, you’re strapped into a headset sucking porridge through a straw and consuming content while social media and marketing companies suck your thought data. .

It’s in the realm of near-possibility, suggests an article from Imperial College London. I’m exaggerating, but just a little.

In a prospective review Of the state of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, researchers warn of a bleak future in which companies like Facebook and Google exploit your emotions for marketing purposes, video games come your way. mind, the machine gives you a new identity and a widespread brain addiction to technology rivals the opioid epidemic. Microsoft and Neuralink are already pushing it. (Facebook tried, but suspend efforts.) That’s the stuff of William Gibson’s dreams, but definitely less cool and much more depressing.

First, the researchers list the good reasons why this technology should be more widely available. BCI enables people with limited motor functions to control prosthetics, wheelchairs, select letters on a screen, turn on lights and air conditioning with a smart home connection. They also suggest that it could detect warehouse worker fatigue to prevent injuries and monitor students for information overload in the classroom. (Note: Amazon tying knots to the heads of workers and sending your child to school in a thought-reading headset sounds pretty unappealing.)

It’s probably best we leave it there ’cause fuckin’ shit it can even invade your mind:

“In addition, owing to the lack of proprioception, the human brain is unable to acknowledge the influence of an external device on itself, which could potentially compromise autonomy and self-agency,” the review reads. “Because of this, users may be liable to mistakenly perceive ownership over behavioral outputs that are generated by the BCI, as well as incorrectly attribute causation to it.”

Such a machine parasite, they say, could change your “character traits” and mold a new “personal identity.”

Fox News has already been on that for decades, in its own way, so this could be kinda cool if it artificially gives you super-memory and enhanced intelligence (also possible). Though researchers couch that with the warning that access to superpowers could addict us on a level “similar to the opioid crisis” and compound inequality. Study co-author Rylie Green said in a declaration (published in a press release titled “Bleak Cyborg Future from Brain-Computer Interfaces if We’re Not Careful”) that technology fixes users who need access to utility support. “For some of these patients, these devices become such an integrated part of themselves that they refuse to have them removed at the end of the clinical trial,” Green said.

The technology, they say, will need to be more economical and energy efficient before widespread commercialization, but it is yet to come. We should expect some “nero-entertainment” soon, thanks to several companies already exploring the idea of ​​hooking gamers directly into the game, which Valve co-founder Gabe Newel predicted as a soon-to-be-standard feature in the game. a meeting with PC Gamer. “I think it’s an extinction level event for every form of entertainment that doesn’t think about it,” he said.

Needless to say, “neural marketing” that eliminates emotional reactions and unconscious decision-making presents a great opportunity for business leaders to tap into mass biometric data collection.

Scary shit! The time to legislate is now, the researchers write, noting that previous researchers have suggested to legally classify “personal neural data” similar to organs, so that it cannot be harvested and sold. Unfortunately, the law usually takes years or decades to catch up with technology, and Mark Zuckerberg is a guy who begs for forgiveness and doesn’t ask for permission. The experiment left the lab.

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