Wednesday 25 October 2006

Freaky science

Watched Horizon last night. It was all about the singularity principle and how one day, soon, scientists will have full understanding of how the brain works and around about the same time, computing power will have equalled that of the human brain.

It was freaky!

Amazingly, I didn't have any nightmares last night, but it was freaky. This one chap was hoping to be able to download his mind on to one of these future super computers. Eek! And another had implanted electrodes in a monkey's brain and then he recorded its brain signals while it played a simple computer game. And a freaky thing happened: the monkey realised that if it just thought about playing the game, its brain signals being sent to this other computer were enough to make the game play, so it stopped moving its monkey arm and just played the game through thought.

And there was this other guy who had created a remote control rat! It had electrodes implanted it its ratty brain, and when the guy clicked left on the computer, the rat turned left!

Am shivering just thinking about it. Hubby said that it was good science because people with severe paralysis could really benefit. I disagree. I mean, it's not that I don't care about people with really severe paralysis but there is no way anyone is plugging electrodes into my brain. Nor is anyone downloading my brain to any computer. Humans as a species are dangerous enough with our current physical limitations, let alone if we could plug our twisted human brains into machines and what have you.

Maybe I lack faith in humanity, maybe I'm seeing the downside only, but it can't be good science. Because even if there are good aspects to it, the potentially "bad" applications of this sort of thing are just too scary.

Surely the world's scientists be better employed at 1/ finding a cure for cancer (could be not far away: see this year's Nobel prize winners), 2/ sorting out our energy/climate change problems, 3/ developing a way to ensure EVERYONE has access to clean water.

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