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As for future mind control/reading technology, can humans fight it?

As for future mind control/reading technology, can humans fight it?


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As of recent times, rats have communicated through wireless brain implants, from across the globe. Also, recent fMRI technologies have allowed prediction of movements (or intention), and the visualization of brain waves (or 'seeing' your thoughts, images, etc.)

Rats have been used for testing, and some advances allowed scientists to predict intention, induce and/or subdue emotions and thoughts.

Reading or controlling the mind requires modifying/reading neural oscillations on neurons, and doing so on certain parts of the brain. Since the neural oscillations are the base of thought and cognition itself, how can we fight our own oscillations? This question stems from the possibility of mind control/reading in humans.

If the technology directly modifies our thoughts… how can we fight that very structure? In science fiction, people "fight" against implants and control, but in reality, is that even possible? Can we fight our own oscillations?

For example, your mind is being read for a thought that you consciously know, like a password, and can you fight this attack? Another example, your mind is being controlled, you are being coerced, and since neural oscillations are thought itself, you can't have objections.

Can we have objections?
Can we fight our neural oscillations if they are hijacked?


For the question of whether humans could fight neuro"mind-reading", I can only say that there is very little evidence that information we know but are not thinking about could be extracted using current methods. This means that the old scifi mind-reading-fighting standby of thinking of something else might work--although then we have the "don't think of a pink elephant" problem of ironic processing.

For the question of whether we could fight externally induced neural activity, I'm going to assume that it would be similar to fighting intrusive thoughts in obsessive compulsive disorder. Currently, our best bets there are exposure, cognitive behavioral therapy, and drugs. Since exposure is primarily involved with reducing the strength of the association between the anxiety-creating obsession and the comforting compulsion, I'm not sure it applies here. Similarly, since the drugs used for OCD are generally anxiolytic or antidepressant, I'm not sure they would help in this case. It might be possible to create a variant of cognitive behavioral therapy that treats the imposed neural activity as a compulsion… but since the technology to impose neural activity on humans (or animals who are good analogs of human compulsion) doesn't exist, all this is speculative!


I would say that not all "mind control" is necessarily a bad thing. For example, using decoded neurofeedback, it may be possible to implant knowledge into a person's brain without that person being aware of it. This would be especially useful for certain motor skills that are required for sports.

This would be similar to the scene in The Matrix where Neo learns Kung Fu. I would think that with this technology there would be certain security requirements that would have to be met.

Source

[A new neuroscientific approach using decoded neurofeedback (DecNef)]. [Article in Japanese] Shibata K.


Modern Day Mind Control Overview

The topic of mind control is elaborate, multifaceted, and multi layered. For the casual reader, it can quickly become numbing, overwhelming the senses and creating a desire to exit the topic, but avoiding this subject is the most foolish thing you could possibly do since your only chance of surviving this hideous and insidious enslavement agenda, which today threatens virtually all of humanity, is to understand how it functions and take steps to reduce your vulnerability.The plans to create a mind controlled workers society have been in place for a long time. The current technology grew out of experiments that the Nazis started before World War II and intensified during the time of the Nazi concentration camps when an unlimited supply of children and adults were available for experimentation. We’ve heard about the inhumane medical experiments performed on concentration camp prisoners, but no word was ever mentioned by the media and the TV documentaries of the mind control experiments. That was not to be divulged to the American public. Mind control technologies can be broadly divided into two subsets: trauma-based or electronic-based.

The first phase of government mind control development grew out of the old occult techniques which required the victim to be exposed to massive psychological and physical trauma, usually beginning in infancy, in order to cause the psyche to shatter into a thousand alter personalities which can then be separately programmed to perform any function (or job) that the programmer wishes to”install”. Each alter personality created is separate and distinct from the front personality. The ‘front personality’ is unaware of the existence or activities of the alter personalities. Alter personalities can be brought to the surface by programmers or handlers using special codes, usually stored in a laptop computer. The victim of mind control can also be affected by specific sounds, words, or actions known as triggers.

The second phase of mind control development was refined at an underground base below Fort Hero on Montauk , Long Island (New York) and is referred to as the Montauk Project. The earliest adolescent victims of Montauk style programming, so called Montauk Boys, were programmed using trauma-based techniques, but that method was eventually abandoned in favor of an all-electronic induction process which could be “installed” in a matter of days (or even hours) instead of the many years that it took to complete trauma-based methods.


Does the Future Need Us? The Future of Humanity and Technology

The voices of some educated, thoughtful people are starting to raise questions about just how human we can remain in the face of developing technology. Don Closson examines those concerns and provides a Christian response.

In April of 2000, Bill Joy ignited a heated discussion concerning the role of technology in modern society. His article in Wired magazine became the focus of a growing concern that technological advances are coming so quickly and are so dramatic that they threaten the future existence of humanity itself. It is relatively easy for baby-boomers to discount such apocalyptic language since we grew up being entertained by countless movies and books warning of the dire consequences from uncontrolled scientific experimentation. We tend to lump cries of impending doom from technology with fringe lunatics like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Kaczynski killed three people and injured others in a seventeen-year attempt to scare away or kill researchers who were close to creating technologies that he felt might have unintended consequences.

But Bill Joy is no Ted Kaczynski. He is the chief scientist for Sun Microsystems, a major player in computer technology and the Internet. He played an important role in the founding of Sun Microsystems and has been instrumental in making UNIX (operating system) the backbone of the Internet. So it is a surprise to find him warning us that some types of knowledge, some technologies should remain unexplored. Joy is calling for a new set of ethics that will guide our quest for knowledge away from dangerous research.

Another voice with a similar warning is that of Francis Fukuyama, professor of political economy at Johns Hopkins University. His book Our Posthuman Future asks disturbing questions about the potential unintended results from the current revolution in biotechnology. He writes, “the most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move us into a “posthuman” stage of history.” Once human nature is disrupted, the belief that we are created equal might no longer be tenable causing both civil and economic strife.

There is also a Christian tradition that questions modernity’s unrestrained quest for technological power. C. S. Lewis warned us of a society that has explained away every mystery, and the danger of what he calls “man-molders.” He states that “the man-molders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omni-competent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they please.” In his book The Technological Society, Jacques Ellul argues that we have come to the place where rationally arrived-at methods and absolute efficiency are all that really matters.

Let’s consider the many voices warning us of the unintended consequences of modern technology.

Three Dangerous Technologies

Bill Joy argues that humanity is in danger from technologies that he believes are just around the corner. His concern is that robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology present risks unlike anything we have created in the past. The key to understanding these new risks is the fact that these technologies share one remarkable potential that is, self-replication. With all the present talk of weapons of mass destruction, Joy is more concerned about weapons of knowledge-enabled mass destruction. Joy writes:

I think it is no exaggeration to say that we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation-states, on to a surprising and terrible empowerment of extreme individuals.

Joy believes that we will have intelligent robots by 2030, nano-replicators by 2020, and that the genetic revolution is already upon us. We all have a picture of what an intelligent robot might look like. Hollywood has given us many stories of that kind of technology gone wrong the Terminator series for example.

The big debate today is whether or not true artificial intelligence is possible. Some like Danny Hillis, co-founder of Thinking Machines Corporation, believe that humans will probably merge with computers at some point. He says, “I’m as fond of my body as anyone, but if I can be 200 with a body of silicon, I’ll take it.” The human brain would provide the intelligence that computer science has yet to create for smart robots. The combination of human and silicon could make self-replicating robots a reality and challenge the existence of mankind, as we know it today.

Nanotechnology is used to construct very small machines. IBM recently announced that it has succeeded in creating a computer circuit composed of individual carbon monoxide atoms, a remarkable breakthrough. Although dreamed about since the 1950’s, nanotechnology has recently made significant progress towards the construction of molecular-level “assemblers” that could solve a myriad of problems for humanity. They could construct low cost solar power materials, cures for diseases, inexpensive pocket supercomputers, and almost any product of which one could dream. However, they could also be made into weapons, self-replicating weapons. Some have called this the “gray goo” problem. For example, picture molecular sized machines that destroy all edible plant life over a large geographic area.

Surprisingly, Bill Joy concludes “The only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge.”

The End of Humanity?

History is filled with people who believed that they were racially superior to others Nazi Germany is one obvious example. An aspect of America’s uniqueness is the belief that all people are created equal and have rights endowed to them by their Creator that cannot easily be taken away. But what if it became overtly obvious that people are not equal, that some, because they could afford new genetic therapy, could have children that were brighter, stronger, and generally more capable than everyone else? This is the question being asked by Francis Fukuyama in his book Our Posthuman Future. The answer he comes up with is not comforting.

He contends that technology is at hand to separate humans into distinct genetic camps and that we will not hesitate to use it.

Fukuyama gives us three possible scenarios for the near future. First, he points to the rapid acceptance and widespread use of psychotropic drugs like Prozac and Ritalin as an indication that future mind altering drugs will find a receptive market. What if neuropharmacology continues to advance to the point where psychotropic drugs can be tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup in order to make everyone “happy,” without the side effects of the current drugs? It might even become possible to adopt different personalities on different days, extroverted and gregarious on Friday, reserve and contemplative for classes or work on Monday.

Next, advances in stem cell research might soon allow us to regenerate any tissue in the body. The immediate result would be to dramatically extend normal human life expectancy, which could have a number of unpleasant social and economic implications. Finally, the feasibility of wealthy parents being able to screen embryos before they are placed in the womb is almost upon us. It would be hard to imagine parents denying their offspring the benefit of genetically enhanced intelligence, or the prospect of living longer lives free from genetic disease.

What will happen to civil rights within democratic nations if these predictions come true? Will we end up with a society split into subspecies with different native abilities and opportunities? What if Europe, for instance, is populated with relatively old, healthy, rich people and Africa continues to suffer economic deprivation with a far younger population ravaged by AIDS and other preventable diseases? Interestingly, Fukuyama believes that the greatest reason not to employ some of these new technologies is that they would alter what it means to be human, and with that our notions of human dignity.

The Christian basis for human dignity is the imago Dei, the image of God placed within us by our Creator. Many are questioning the wisdom of chemical and genetic manipulation of humanity, even if it seems like a good idea now.

Early Warnings

There is a long Christian tradition of looking at the surrounding world with suspicion. Whether it’s Tertullian asking the question “what has Athens to do with Jerusalem,” or the Mennonite’s promotion of simplicity and separation, Christians everywhere have had to struggle with the admonition to be in the world but not of it. Recent advances in science and technology are not making this struggle any easier.

For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique and both, in the practice of this technique, are reading to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.

The issue of technique and its standardizing effects was central to the thinking of sociologist Jacques Ellul in The Technological Society. Ellul argues that as a society becomes more technological it also becomes less interested in human beings. As he puts it, the technical world is the world of material things. When it does show an interest in mankind, it does so by converting him into a material object. Ellul warns that as technological capabilities grow, they result in greater and greater means to accomplish tasks than ever before, and he believes that the line between good and evil slowly disappears as this power grows.

Ellul worries that the more dependent we become on technology and technique, the more it conforms our behavior to its requirements rather than vise versa. Whether in corporate headquarters or on military bases much has been written about the de-humanizing effect of the employment of modern technique.

Primarily, he fears that even the church might become enamored with the results of technique. The result would be depending less on the power of God to work through Spirit-filled believers and more on our modern organization and technological skills.

Summary

Without a doubt, technology can help to make a society more productive, and growing productivity is a major predictor for future increases in standards of living. Likewise, technology results in greater opportunities to amass wealth both as a society and for individuals. Communication technology can help to unify a society as well as equalize access to information and thus promote social mobility.

On the other hand, technology can cause harm to both the environment and individuals. The Chernobyl nuclear power disaster in Russia and the Bhopal industrial gas tragedy in India resulted in thousands of deaths due to technological negligence. The widespread access to pornography over the Internet is damaging untold numbers of marriages and relationships. Terrorists have a growing number of inexpensive technologies available to use against civilians including anthrax and so-called radioactive dirty bombs that depend on recent technological advances.

However, it must be said that most Christians do not view technology itself as evil. Technology has remarkable potential for expanding the outreach of ministries and individuals. Probe’s Web site is accessed by close to 100,000 people every month from over one hundred different countries. Modern communications technology makes it possible to broadcast the Gospel to virtually any place on the planet around the clock.

However, in our use of technology, Christians need to keep two principles in mind. First, we cannot give in to the modern tendency to define every problem and solution in scientific or technological terms. Since the Enlightenment, there has been a temptation to think naturalistically, reducing human nature and the rest of Creation to its materialistic component. The Bible speaks clearly of an unseen spiritual world and that we fight against these unseen forces when we work to build God’s kingdom on earth. Ephesians tells us “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Scientific techniques alone will not further God’s kingdom. We must acknowledge that prayer and the spiritual disciplines are necessary to counter the adversary.

Second, we need to remember the power that sin has to tempt us and to mar our thinking. The types of technologies and their uses should be limited and controlled by biblical ethics, not by our desires for more power or wealth. We are to have dominion over the earth as God’s stewards, not as autonomous tyrants seeking greater pleasure and comfort.

1. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1972), 73.
2. Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, (Vintage Books, 1964), p. xxv.
3. Bill Joy, “Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us,” Wired, April 2000.
4. Ibid.
5. Lewis, 69.
6. NIV, Ephesians 6:11-12.

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Don Closson

Don Closson served as Director of Administration and a research associate with Probe for 26 years, until taking a position with the same title at the Centers of Church Based Training (ccbt.org) in 2013. He received the B.S. in education from Southern Illinois University, the M.S. in educational administration from Illinois State University, and the M.A. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served as a public school teacher and administrator before joining Probe and then the CCBT. He is the general editor of Kids, Classrooms, and Contemporary Education.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:


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Three visions of the future, inspired by neuroscience’s past and present

In the future, doctors may be able to treat brain disorders with targeted, reversible therapies that change the behavior of specific brain networks.

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A century ago, science’s understanding of the brain was primitive, like astronomy before telescopes. Certain brain injuries were known to cause specific problems, like loss of speech or vision, but those findings offered a fuzzy view.

Anatomists had identified nerve cells, or neurons, as key components of the brain and nervous system. But nobody knew how these cells collectively manage the brain’s sophisticated control of behavior, memory or emotions. And nobody knew how neurons communicate, or the intricacies of their connections. For that matter, the research field known as neuroscience — the science of the nervous system — did not exist, becoming known as such only in the 1960s.

Over the last 100 years, brain scientists have built their telescopes. Powerful tools for peering inward have revealed cellular constellations. It’s likely that over 100 different kinds of brain cells communicate with dozens of distinct chemicals. A single neuron, scientists have discovered, can connect to tens of thousands of other cells.

Yet neuroscience, though no longer in its infancy, is far from mature.

Today, making sense of the brain’s vexing complexity is harder than ever. Advanced technologies and expanded computing capacity churn out torrents of information. “We have vastly more data … than we ever had before, period,” says Christof Koch, a neuroscientist at the Allen Institute in Seattle. Yet we still don’t have a satisfying explanation of how the brain operates. We may never understand brains in the way we understand rainbows, or black holes, or DNA.

This article is an excerpt from a series celebrating some of the biggest advances in science over the last century. For an expanded version of the past, present and future of neuroscience, visit Century of Science: Our brains, our futures.

Deeper revelations may come from studying the vast arrays of neural connections that move information from one part of the brain to another. Using the latest brain mapping technologies, scientists have begun drawing detailed maps of those neural highways, compiling a comprehensive atlas of the brain’s communication systems, known as the connectome.

Those maps are providing a more realistic picture than early work that emphasized the roles of certain brain areas over the connections among them, says Michael D. Fox, a neuroscientist who directs the Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Scientists now know that the dot on the map is less important than the roads leading in and out.

“With the building of the human connectome, this wiring diagram of the human brain, we all of a sudden had the resources and the tools to begin to look at [the brain] differently,” Fox says.

Scientists are already starting to use these new brain maps to treat disorders. That’s the main goal of Fox’s center, dedicated to changing brain circuits in ways that alleviate disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. “Maybe for the first time in history, we’ve got the tools to map these symptoms onto human brain circuits, and we’ve got the tools to intervene and modulate these circuits,” Fox says.

The goal sounds grandiose, but Fox doesn’t think it’s a stretch. “My deadline is a decade from now,” he says.

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Whether it’s 10 years from now or 50, by imagining what’s ahead, we can remind ourselves of the progress that’s already been made, of the neural galaxies that have been discovered and mapped. And we can allow ourselves a moment of wonder at what might come next.

The three fictional vignettes that follow illustrate some of those future possibilities. No doubt they will be wrong in the details, but each is rooted in research that’s under way today, as described in the “reality checks” that follow each imagined scenario.

Science future: brain bots


What if nanobots could slide into the brain to end a bout of depression before it started? Glenn Harvey

Sarah had made up her mind. After five years, she was going to get her neural net removed. The millions of nanobots in her brain had given her life back to her, by helping her mind to work again. They had done their job. It was time to get them out.

After Sarah’s baby was born on the summer solstice, things got dark. The following months had tipped Sarah into a postpartum depression that kept her from enjoying her gorgeous, perfect little girl.

Unable to feel much of anything, Sarah barely moved through those early days. She rarely looked at the baby. She forgot to eat. She would sit in a dark room for hours, air conditioner on full blast, staring at nothing. Those endless days stretched until an unseasonably hot September morning. Her mother watched the baby while Sarah’s husband drove her to the Institute for Neuroprosthetics, a low-slung brick building in the suburbs of Nashville.

Inside, Sarah barely listened as the clinic coordinator described the technology again. An injection would deliver the nanobots to her blood. Then a tech would guide the bots, using a magnet, from her arm toward her head. A fast, strong pulse of ultrasound would open the blood-brain barrier temporarily, allowing an army of minuscule particles to slip in.

Powered by the molecular motion inherent in the brain, the nanobots would spread out to form a web of microscopic electrodes. That neural network could pinpoint where Sarah’s brain circuitry was misfiring and repair it with precise but persuasive electrical nudges.

Over the following weeks, Sarah’s nanobots learned the neural rhythms of her brain as she moved through her life with debilitating depression. With powerful computational help — and regular tinkering by the clinic technologist — the system soon learned to spot the earliest neural rumblings of a deteriorating mood. Once those warning signs were clear, Sarah’s web of nanobots could end budding episodes before they could take her down.

Soon after the injection, Sarah’s laugh started to reappear, though sometimes at the wrong times. She recalled the day she and her husband took the baby to a family birthday party. In the middle of a story about her uncle’s dementia treatment, Sarah’s squawks of laughter silenced the room.

Those closest to her understood, but most of her family and friends didn’t know about the millions of bots working to shore up her brain.

After a few months and some adjustments, Sarah’s emotions evened out. The numb, cold depression was gone. Gone too were the inappropriate bursts of laughter, flashes of white rage and insatiable appetites. She was able to settle in with her new family, and feel — really feel — the joy of it all.

But was this joy hers alone? Maybe it belonged to the army of tiny, ever-vigilant helpers, reworking and evening out her brain. Without her neural net, she might have been teary watching her daughter, still her baby, walk into her kindergarten classroom on the first day. Instead, Sarah waved, turned and went to work, feeling only slightly wistful, nothing more intense than that.

The science supporting the success of neural nets was staggering. They could efficiently fix huge problems: addiction, dementia, eating disorders and more. But the science couldn’t answer bigger questions of identity and control — what it means to be a person.

That search for herself is what drove Sarah back to the clinic, five years after she welcomed the nanobots in.

Her technologist went over the simple extraction procedure: a quick ultrasound pulse to loosen the blood-brain barrier again, a strong magnet over the inside of Sarah’s elbow and a blood draw. He looked at her. “You ready?”

She took a deep breath. “Yes.”

Reality check: brain bots

In this story, Sarah received a treatment that doesn’t exist in the real world. But the idea that scientists will be able to change certain brain networks — and improve health — is not fiction. It’s happening.

Already, a technique known as deep brain stimulation, or DBS, uses electrodes surgically implanted in people’s brains to tweak the behavior of brain cells. Such electrode implants are helping reduce Parkinson’s tremors, epileptic seizures and uncontrollable movements caused by Tourette’s syndrome. Mood disorders like Sarah’s have been targeted too.

Electrodes penetrate deep into the brain of a 58-year-old person to treat Parkinson’s disease. Deep brain stimulation is being improved and tested in movement disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Zephyr/Science Source

The central idea of DBS — that the brain can be fixed by stimulating it — is not new. In the 1930s, psychiatrists discovered that a massive wallop of seizure-inducing electricity could sometimes relieve psychiatric symptoms. In the 1940s and 1950s, researchers studied whether more constrained electrical stimulation could help with disorders such as depression.

In 1948, for instance, neurosurgeon J. Lawrence Pool of Columbia University’s Neurological Institute of New York implanted electrodes to stimulate the brain of a woman with severe Parkinson’s who had become depressed and lost weight. Soon, she began to “eat well, put on weight and react in a more cheerful manner,” Pool reported in 1954.

The experiment ended three years later when one of the wires broke. “It is the writer’s conviction that focal controlled stimulation of the human brain is a new technique in psychosurgery that is here to stay,” Pool wrote.

Compared with those early days, today’s scientists understand a lot more about how to selectively influence brain activity. But before a treatment such as Sarah’s is possible, two major challenges must be addressed: Doctors need better tools — nimble and powerful systems that are durable enough to work consistently inside the brain for years — and they need to know where in the brain to target the treatment. That location differs among disorders, and even among people.

These are big problems, but the various pieces needed for this sort of precision healing are beginning to coalesce.

The specs of the technology that will be capable of listening to brain activity and intervening as needed is anyone’s guess. Yet those nanobots that snuck into Sarah’s brain from her blood do have roots in current research. For example, Caltech’s Mikhail Shapiro and colleagues are working toward nanoscale robots that roam the body and act as doctors (SN: 10/10/20 & 10/24/20, p. 27).

Other kinds of sensors are growing up, fast. In the last 20 years, electrodes have improved by an astonishing amount, becoming smaller, more flexible and less likely to scar the brain, says biomedical engineer Cynthia Chestek. When she began working on electrode development in the early 2000s, there were still insolvable problems, she says, including the scars that big, stiff electrodes can leave, and the energy they require to operate. “We didn’t know if anybody was ever going to deal with them.”

But those problems have largely been overcome, says Chestek, whose lab team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor develops carbon fiber electrodes. Imagine the future, Chestek says. “You could have thousands of electrodes safely interfacing with neurons. At that point, it becomes really standard medical practice.”

Neural dust — minuscule electrodes powered by external ultrasounds — already can pick up nerve and muscle activity in rats. Neuropixels can record electrical activity from over 10,000 sites in mice’s brains. And mesh electrodes, called neural lace, have been injected into the brains of mice.

Arrays of electrodes are getting smaller and more reliable, collecting an onslaught of data about brains at work. Shown is Neuropixels, an array created by the company Imec, that contains nearly 1,000 electrodes. IMEC

Once inside, these nets integrate into the tissue and record brain activity from many cells. So far, these mesh electrodes have captured neural activity over months as the mice have scurried around.

Other systems under development can be controlled with magnets, light or ultrasound. There are still problems to solve, Chestek says, but none are insurmountable. “We just need to figure out the last set of practical tricks,” she says.

Once scientists know how to reliably change brain activity, they need to know where to make the change. Precision targeting is complicated by the fact that ultimately, every part of the brain is connected to every other part, in a very Kevin Bacon way.

Advances in tractography — the study of the physical connections among groups of nerve cells — are pointing to which parts of these neural highways could be targeted to deal with certain problems.

Other studies of people with implanted electrodes reveal brain networks in action. When certain electrodes were stimulated, people experienced immediate and obvious changes in their moods (SN: 2/16/19, p. 22). Those electrodes were near the neural tracts that converge in a brain region just behind and above the eyes called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex.

In the future, we might all have our personalized brain wiring diagrams mapped, Fox says. And perhaps for any symptom — anxiety, food craving or addiction — doctors could find the brain circuit responsible. “Now we’ve got our target,” he says. “We can either hold the neuromodulation tool outside your scalp, or implant a tool inside your head, and we’re going to fix that circuit.”

The hurdles to building a nimble, powerful and precise system similar to the one that helped Sarah are high. But past successes suggest that innovative, aggressive research will find ways around current barriers. For people with mood disorders, addiction, dementia or any other ailment rooted in the brain, those advances can’t come soon enough.

Science future: mind meld

Does the future hold a way for humans to connect with say, a bird, to get a memory boost? Glenn Harvey

Sofia couldn’t sleep. Tomorrow was the big day. As the project manager for the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, she had overseen years of prize announcements, but never one like this.

At 11:30 a.m. Central European Summer Time tomorrow, the prize would be given to a bird named Harry, a 16-year-old Clark’s nutcracker. Sofia smiled in the dark as she thought about how the news would land.

Harry was to be recognized for benefiting humankind “in his role as a pioneering memory collective that enhances human minds.” Harry would share the prize (and the money) with his two human trainers.

Tomorrow morning, the world would be buzzing, Sofia knew. But as with every Nobel Prize, the story began long before the announcement. Even in the 20th century, scientists had been dreaming of, and tinkering with, merging different kinds of minds.

As the technology got more precise and less invasive, human-to-human links grew seamless, inspired by ancient and intriguing examples of conjoined twins with shared awareness. External headsets could send and receive signals between brains, such as “silent speech” and sights and sounds.

Next, scientists began looking to other species’ brains for different types of skills that might boost our human abilities. Other animals have different ways of seeing, feeling, experiencing and remembering the world. That’s where Harry came in.

Crows, ravens and other corvids have prodigious memories. That’s especially true for Clark’s nutcrackers. These gray and black birds can remember the locations of an estimated 10,000 seed stashes at any given time. These powerful memory abilities soon caught the eye of scientists eager to augment human memory.

The scientists weren’t talking about remembering where the car is parked in the airport lot. They set their sights higher. Done right, these enhancements could allow a person to build stunningly complete internal maps of their world, remembering every place they had ever been. And it turned out that these memory feats didn’t just stop at physical locations. Strengthening one type of memory led to improvements in other kinds of memories too. The systems grew stronger all around.

Harry wasn’t the first bird to link up with humans, but he has been one of the best. As a young bird, Harry underwent several years of intense training (aided by his favorite treat, whitebark pine seeds). Using a sophisticated implanted brain chip, he learned to merge his neural signals with those of a person who was having memory trouble or needed a temporary boost. The connection usually lasted for a few hours a day, but its effects endured. Noticeable improvements in people’s memories held fast for months after a session with Harry. The people who tried it called the change “breathtaking.” The bird had made history.

By showing this sort of human-animal mind meld was possible, and beneficial, Harry and his trainers had helped create an entirely new field, one worthy of Nobel recognition, Sofia thought.

Some scientists are now building on what Harry’s brain could do during these mingling sessions. Others are expanding to different animal abilities: allowing people to “see” in the dark like echolocating bats, or “taste” with their arms like octopuses. Imagine doctors being able to smell diseases, an olfactory skill borrowed from dogs. News outlets were already starting to run interviews with people who had augmented animal awareness.

Still wide awake, Sofia’s mind ran back through the meetings she had held with her communications team over the last week. Tomorrow’s announcement would bring amusement and delight. But she also expected to hear strong objections, from religious groups, animal rights activists and even some ethicists concerned about species blurring. The team was prepared for protests, lots of them.

In the middle of the night, these worries seemed a smidge more substantial to Sofia. Then she thought of Harry flitting around, hiding seeds, and the threat faded away. Sofia marveled at how far the science had come since she was a girl, and how far it was bound to go. Fully exhausted, she rolled over, ready to sleep, ready for tomorrow. She smiled again as she thought about what she’d tell people, if the chance arose: For better or worse, resistance is futile.

Reality check: mind meld

Accepting that a bird could win a Nobel Prize demands a pretty long flight of fancy. But scientists have already directly linked together multiple brains.

Today, the technology that makes such connections possible is just getting off the ground. We are in the “Kitty Hawk” days of brain interface technologies, says computational neuroscientist Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington in Seattle, who is working on brain-based communication systems. In the future, these systems will inevitably fly higher.

Such technology might even take people beyond the confines of their bodies, creating a sort of extended cognition, possibly enabling new abilities, Rao says. “This direct connection between brains — maybe that’s another way we can make a leap in our human evolution.”

Rao helped organize a three-way direct brain chat, in which three people sent and received messages using only their minds while playing a game similar to Tetris. Signals from the thoughts of two players’ brains moved over the internet and into the back of the receiver’s brain via a burst of magnetic stimulation designed to mimic information coming from the eyes.

Senders could transmit signals that told the receiver to rotate a piece, for instance, before dropping it down. Those results, published in 2019 in Scientific Reports, represent the first time multiple people have communicated directly with their brains.

An EEG cap measures brain signals of a “sender” (shown) as she and two other people play a video game with their brains. Those signals form instructions that are sent directly to the brain of another player who can’t see the board but must decide what to do based on the instructions. Mark Stone/Univ. of Washington

Other projects have looped in animals, though no birds yet. In 2019, people took control of six awake rats’ brains, guiding the animals’ movements through mazes via thought. A well-trained rat cyborg could reach turning accuracy of nearly 100 percent, the researchers reported.

But those rats took commands from a person they did not send information back. Continuous back-and-forth exchanges are a prerequisite for an accomplishment like Harry’s.

These types of experiments are happening too. A recent study linked three monkeys’ brains, allowing their minds to collectively move an avatar arm on a 3-D screen. Each monkey was in charge of moving in two of three dimensions left or right, up or down, and near or far. Those overlapping yet distinct jobs caused the networked monkeys to flounder initially. But soon enough, their neural cooperation became seamless as they learned to move the avatar arm to be rewarded with a sip of juice.

With technological improvements, the variety of signals that can move between brains will increase. And with that, these brain collectives might be able to accomplish even more. “One brain can do only so much, but if you bring many brains together, directly connected in a network, it’s possible that they could create inventions that no single mind could think of by itself,” Rao says.

Groups of brains might be extra good at certain jobs. A collective of surgeons, for instance, could pool their expertise for a particularly difficult operation. A collective of fast-thinking pilots could drive a drone over hostile territory. A collective of intelligence experts could sift through murky espionage material.

Maybe one day, information from an animal’s brain might augment human brains — although it’s unlikely that the neural signals from a well-trained Clark’s nutcracker will be the top choice for a memory aid. Artificial intelligence, or even human intelligence, might make better memory partners. Whatever the source, these external “nodes” could ultimately expand and change a human brain’s connectome.

Still, connecting brains directly is fraught with ethical questions. One aspect, the idea of an “extended mind,” poses particularly wild conundrums, says bioethicist Elisabeth Hildt of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

“Part of me is connected and extended to this other human being,” she says. “Is this me? Is this someone else? Am I doing this myself?” she asks.

Some scientists think it’s too early to contemplate what it might feel like to have our minds dispersed across multiple brains (SN: 2/13/21, p. 24). Others disagree. “It may be too late if we wait until we understand the brain to study the ethics of brain interfacing,” Rao says. “The technology is already racing ahead.”

So feel free to mull over how it would feel to connect minds with a bird. If you were the human who could link to the mind of Harry the Clark’s nutcracker, for instance, perhaps you might start to dream of flying.

Science future: thoughts for sale

Will people be willing to let their inner thoughts and interests be monitored, for a fee? Glenn Harvey

Javier had just been fired. “They’re done with me,” he told his coworker Marcus. “They’re done with the whole Signal program.”

Marcus shook his head. “I’m sorry, man.”

Javier went on: “It gets worse they’re moving all of Signal’s data into the information market.”

The two were in the transportation business. Javier was the director of neural systems engagement for Zou, an on-demand ride hailing and courier system in Los Angeles. After the self-driving industry imploded because of too many accidents, Zou drove into L.A. with a promise of safety — so the company needed to make sure its drivers were the best.

That’s where Javier and his team came in. The ambitious idea of the Signal program was to incentivize drivers with cash, using their brain data, gathered by gray headsets.

Drivers with alert and focused brains earned automatic bonuses a green power bar on-screen in the car showed minute-to-minute earnings. Drivers whose brains appeared sluggish or aggressive didn’t earn extra. Instead, they were warned. If the problem continued, they were fired.

This carrot-and-stick system, developed by Javier and his team, worked beautifully at first. But a few months in, accidents started creeping back up.

The problem, it turned out, was the brain itself: It changes. Human brains learn, find creative solutions, remake themselves. Incentivized to maintain a certain type of brain activity, drivers’ brains quickly learned to produce those signals — even if they didn’t correspond to better driving. Neural work-arounds sparked a race that Javier ultimately lost.

That failure was made worse by Zou’s latest plans. What had started as a driving experiment had morphed into an irresistible way for the company to make money. The plan was to gather and sell valuable data — information on how the drivers’ brains responded to a certain style of music, how excited drivers got when they saw a digital billboard for a vacation resort and how they reacted to a politician’s promises.

Zou was going to require employees to wear the headsets when they weren’t driving. The caps would collect data while the drivers ate, while they grocery shopped and while they talked with their kids, slurping up personal neural details and selling them to the highest bidders.

Of course, the employees could refuse. They could decide to take off the caps and quit. “But what kind of choice is that?” Javier asked. “Most of these drivers would open up their skulls for a paycheck.”

Marcus shook his head, and then asked, “How much extra are they going to pay?”

“Who knows,” Javier said. “Maybe nothing. Maybe they’ll just slip the data consent line into the standard contract.”

The two men looked at each other and shook their heads in unison. There wasn’t much left to say.

Reality check: thoughts for sale

Javier’s fictional program, Signal, was built with information gleaned externally from drivers’ brains. Today’s technology isn’t there yet. But it’s tiptoeing closer.

Some companies already sell brain monitoring systems made of electrodes that measure external brain waves with a method called electroencephalography. For now, these headsets are sold as wellness devices. For a few hundred dollars, you can own a headset that promises to fine-tune your meditation practice, help you make better decisions or even level up your golf game. EEG caps can measure alertness already some controversial experiments have monitored schoolchildren as they listened to their teacher.

The claims by these companies are big, and they haven’t been proven to deliver. “It is unclear whether consumer EEG devices can reveal much of anything,” ethicist Anna Wexler of the University of Pennsylvania argued in a commentary in Nature Biotechnology in 2019. Still, improvements in these devices, and the algorithms that decode the signals they detect, may someday enable more sophisticated information to be reliably pulled from the brain.

Other types of technology, such as functional MRI scans, can pull more detailed information from the brain.

Complex visual scenes, including clips of movies that people were watching, can be extracted from brain scans. Psychologist Jack Gallant and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley built captivating visual scenes using data from people’s brains as they lay in an fMRI scanner. A big red bird swooped across the screen, elephants marched in a row and Steve Martin walked across the screen, all impressionistic versions of images pulled from people’s brain activity.

That work, published in 2011, foreshadowed ever more complex brain-reading tricks. More recently, researchers used fMRI signals to re-create faces that people were seeing.

Visual scenes are one thing will our more nebulous thoughts, beliefs and memories ever be accessible? It’s not impossible. Take a study from Japan, published in 2013. Scientists identified the contents of three sleeping people’s dreams, using an fMRI machine. But re-creating those dreams required hours of someone telling a scientist about other dreams first. To get the data they wanted, scientists first needed to be invited into the dreamers’ minds, in a way. Those three people were each awakened over 200 times early in the experiments and asked to describe what they had been dreaming about.

More portable and more reliable ways to eavesdrop on the brain from the outside are moving forward fast, a swiftness that has prompted some ethicists, scientists and futurists to call for special protections of neural data. Debates over who can access our brain activity, and for what purposes, will only grow more intense as the technology improves.

Questions or comments on this article? E-mail us at [email protected]

A version of this article appears in the March 13, 2021 issue of Science News.


A Nauseating Corner of Psychology: Disgust

Like many features of the human condition, the first psychological account of disgust comes from Charles Darwin, who in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals defined it this way: “Something revolting, primarily in relation to the sense of taste, as actually perceived or vividly imagined and secondarily to anything which causes a similar feeling, through the sense of smell, touch and even eyesight.”[1] Theories of disgust bounced around following Darwin. Throughout the 20 th century it was a niche area of research, but by the 1990s disgust was popular in psychology. Spearheading this movement was Paul Rozin, a clever psychologist who devised several experiments that revealed what elicits disgust. Think about eating soup from a sterilized bedpan or eating chocolate molded to resemble dog feces. Not pleasant, right? Rozin’s insight was that disgust is the “fear of incorporating an offending substance into one’s body.”[2]

Disgust’s evolutionary origins are not a mystery. Humans are omnivores (we eat just about anything we can digest), so disgust acted as a food rejection system – a helpful emotional reminder that it’s not safe to feast indiscriminately. This is why carrion, vomit, feces, mucus, rotten meat, effluvia and other things loaded with dangerous microbes and parasites are so repulsive. Hundreds of thousands of years before Louis Pasteur discovered germ theory, natural selection had already endowed us with an implicit knowledge of it, which is why we not only refuse to eat said contaminates but also touch and think about them.

Disgust is universal but humans don’t express it until they are between three and four years old. In a slightly evil experiment Rozin and his colleagues found that children happily gobbled up dog feces (it was really peanut butter and smelly cheese) and grasshoppers. For parents, this study confirms the obvious: children younger than two put virtually everything in their mouths – a behavior Freud thought linked to sexuality (it doesn’t). Because disgust emerges a few years after birth it differs from culture to culture beyond a few universals. The mystery is: Why do different cultures develop disgust for different foods?

One line of reasoning is that disgust is a reaction to health issues. Many Jews believe that Judaism forbids pork because pigs are dirty.[3] Some Muslims likewise think that the Islamic code that designates what foods are permissible for Muslims, Halal, bans the consumption of pork for health reasons. This explanation is plagued with inconsistencies. It’s true that pigs wallow in their own urine and eat feces. But this is also true of cows, dogs, and chickens under certain conditions.

Another possibility is that disgust was used to strengthen community bonds. As Steven Pinker puts it, food taboos “make the merest prelude to cooperation with outsiders – breaking bread together – an unmistakable act of defiance.” Judaism might have forbidden pork because the Philistines, who were the one of the Israelites’ main opponents, ate a lot of it. (H/T Geoff Mitelman)

The more plausible explanation comes from the anthropologist Marvin Harris. He argues that ecology played the dominant role, namely, that what food a culture deems disgusting is determined by the value of the animal the food comes from. In his 1974 book Cows, Pigs, War and Witches Harris observes in a chapter titled “Pig Lovers and Pig Haters” that Semites refuse to eat pork while people of highland New Guinea crave it. What explains this porcine paradox? Harris points out that North Africa and the Middle East, where Semites are from, lack vegetation including essential foods like nuts, fruits and vegetables. Pigs eat these foods as well, so domesticating them would be a burden on human nutritional needs. In contrast, vegetation in New Guinea is plentiful but protein is scarce. Pigs in New Guinea were therefore more valuable dead, cooked and eaten. All of this is consistent with the fact that kosher animals, including cattle, goats and sheep, survive off desert plants that are not valuable to humans. A similar example comes from Hinduism where slaughtering cattle is prohibited because (if Harris is correct) cattle pull plows and provide milk and manure. They are, in sum, worth more alive than dead.

Another question is how disgust and morality are related. A key piece of literature that addresses this question comes from a 2008 paper by Rozin, Jonathan Haidt and Clark McCauley. Building on previous research, they argue that communities co-opted a physical disgust for food and bodily functions into moral codes to establish rules about purity. If this is true it explains why cleanliness is a virtue in several cultures and religions including Hinduism where people are prohibited from wearing shoes when they walk on the courtyard of a temple. It also helps explain why the Abrahamic texts have so many rules concerning menstruation[4] and sex. Western secular liberals might have trouble relating, but they are also disgusted when, for example, a person’s rights or dignity is violated.

Under this paradigm our disease avoidance system “spilled over” into our moral codes. This seems like a reasonable theory. For example, there are plenty of things I find disgusting that Idon’t make a moral judgment about. In a recent Bloggingheads conversation between Paul Bloom and David Pizarro (leading researchers in the field), Pizarro points out that he finds nose picking disgusting but he does not make moral judgments about nose picking or nose pickers. Similarly, Bloom says cheekily, a poopy diaper might be gross but no one would blame the kid for pooping. Another idea is that the disgust for dangerous foods and bodily functions and the disgust for other things including people, practices and ideas are one in the same. However, a lack of evidence makes it difficult to determine which one of these theories is more plausible at this point in time.

Disgust, it should be said, is not necessarily a good guide for morality. Liberals in the United States criticize homophobic conservatives for deeming homosexual sex immoral just because they find it disgusting, implying that disgust is not a sufficient justification. But when the same liberal thinkers are pressed to explain why things like child molestation, incest or having sex with chickens are immoral they encounter the same problem: moral dumbfounding – what’s intuitively obvious is not always morally correct. Disgust, in other words, is not a reliable source for moral guidance. Leon Kass makes this point[5] in an essay he penned many years ago:

Revulsion is not an argument and some of yesterday’s repugnancies are today calmly accepted — though, one must add, not always for the better. In crucial cases, however, repugnance is the emotional expression of deep wisdom, beyond reason’s power fully to articulate it. Can anyone really give an argument fully adequate to the horror which is father-daughter incest (even with consent), or having sex with animals, or mutilating a corpse, or eating human flesh, or even just (just!) raping or murdering another human being? Would anybody’s failure to give full rational justification for his or her revulsion at these practices make that revulsion ethically suspect? Not at all. On the contrary, we are suspicious of those who think that they can rationalize away our horror, say, by trying to explain the enormity of incest with arguments only about the genetic risks of inbreeding.

A scary consequence of morality based on disgust is what happens when it is extended to out-groups. Sometimes a community will lump members of an out-group into a category and equate it with what’s physically disgusting. This is one hallmark of ethnic cleansings and it occurred during the Rwandan genocide when the Hutus equated Tutsis with “cockroaches.” To paraphrase Haidt, moral rules based on disgust bind and blind.

So what is disgust? It is a disease avoidance system put in place by natural selection to prevent us from consuming harmful food and bodily fluids. Effluvia, vomit, feces, rotten flesh, and urine are disgusting to people around the world. It can’t be a coincidence that these substances contain dangerous diseases. The question is how disgust emerges in different cultures. Harris postulates that it relates to ecology and economics. I mentioned that it’s possible that disgust evolved not just as a disease-prevention system but also as a tool to distinguish “us” from “them”. However, it seems more likely that disgust for anything that is not food or a bodily fluid is a byproduct of a disease-prevention system.

Sometimes disgust results in quirky behavior. People are disgusted by the thought of wearing the socks of a rapist or Hitler’s sweater. Other times disgust is more significant, especially when large groups of people label other groups disgusting. From the trivial to the consequential, it’s important that disgust doesn’t guide morality. I hope people are rational enough to realize this.

In the last two decades psychological science has conducted brilliant research to uncover what Darwin described nearly 150 years ago in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. A lot of credit goes to Paul Rozin, but other researchers including Bloom, Pizarro (and their colleagues Yoel Inbar and Ravi Iyer), and Haidt are providing insightful findings with clever experiments. If the next twenty years are as fruitful as the last we’ll have a much more complete picture of this nauseating corner of human psychology.

[1] From Rozin, Haidt and McCauley 2008

[3] Leviticus 11:7-8 “And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud he [is] unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch they [are] unclean to you.”

[4] Leviticus 15:19-30 “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.”


The future of mind control

A traditional deep brain stimulation electrode (top panel) provokes an immune response in the brain while a mesh electronic interface (bottom panel) does not. The size and rigidity of the DBS electrode result in chronic inflammation causing glial scarring between brain tissue and electrode, degrading the neural interface. Mesh electronics evade the immune response due to cellular and sub-cellular features and bending stiffness resembling the brain itself. Credit: Shaun Patel and Charles Lieber

Electrodes implanted in the brain help alleviate symptoms like the intrusive tremors associated with Parkinson's disease. But current probes face limitations due to their size and inflexibility. "The brain is squishy and these implants are rigid," said Shaun Patel. About four years ago, when he discovered Charles M. Lieber's ultra-flexible alternatives, he saw the future of brain-machine interfaces.

In a recent perspective titled "Precision Electronic Medicine," published in Nature Biotechnology, Patel, a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Lieber, the Joshua and Beth Friedman University Professor, argue that neurotechnology is on the cusp of a major renaissance. Throughout history, scientists have blurred discipline lines to tackle problems larger than their individual fields. The Human Genome Project, for example, convened international teams of scientists to map human genes faster than otherwise possible.

"The next frontier is really the merging of human cognition with machines," Patel said. He and Lieber see mesh electronics as the foundation for those machines, a way to design personalized electronic treatment for just about anything related to the brain.

"Everything manifests in the brain fundamentally. Everything. All your thoughts, your perceptions, any type of disease," Patel said.

Scientists can pinpoint the general areas of the brain where decision-making, learning, and emotions originate, but tracing behaviors to specific neurons is still a challenge. Right now, when the brain's complex circuitry starts to misbehave or degrade due to psychiatric illnesses like addiction or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, or even natural aging, patients have only two options for medical intervention: drugs or, when those fail, implanted electrodes.

Drugs like L-dopa can quiet the tremors that prevent someone with Parkinson's from performing simple tasks like dressing and eating. But because drugs affect more than just their target, even common L-dopa side effects can be severe, ranging from nausea to depression to abnormal heart rhythms.

When drugs no longer work, FDA-approved electrodes can provide relief through Deep Brain Stimulation. Like a pace maker, a battery pack set beneath the clavicle sends automated electrical pulses to two brain implants. Lieber said each electrode "looks like a pencil. It's big."

During implantation, Parkinson's patients are awake, so surgeons can calibrate the electrical pulses. Dial the electricity up, and the tremors calm. "Almost instantly, you can see the person regain control of their limbs," Patel said. "It blows my mind."

But, like with L-dopa, the large electrodes stimulate more than their intended targets, causing sometimes severe side effects like speech impediments. And, over time, the brain's immune system treats the stiff implants as foreign objects: Neural immune cells (glia cells) engulf the perceived invader, displacing or even killing neurons and reducing the device's ability to maintain treatment.

In contrast, Lieber's mesh electronics provoke almost no immune response. With close, long-term proximity to the same neurons, the implants can collect robust data on how individual neurons communicate over time or, in the case of neurological disorders, fail to communicate. Eventually, such technology could track how specific neural subtypes talk, too, all of which could lead to a cleaner, more precise map of the brain's communication network.

With higher resolution targets, future electrodes can act with greater precision, eliminating unwanted side effects. If that happens, Patel said, they could be tuned to treat any neurological disorder. And, unlike current electrodes, Lieber's have already demonstrated a valuable trick of their own: They encourage neural migration, potentially guiding newborn neurons to damaged areas, like pockets created by stroke.

"The potential for it is outstanding," Patel said. "In my own mind, I see this at the level of what started with the transistor or telecommunications."

The potential reaches beyond therapeutics: Adaptive electrodes could provide heightened control over prosthetic or even paralyzed limbs. In time, they could act like neural substitutes, replacing damaged circuitry to re-establish broken communication networks and recalibrate based on live feedback. "If you could actually interact in a precise and long-term way and also provide feedback information," Lieber said, "you could really communicate with the brain in the same way that the brain is communicating within itself."

A few major technology companies are also eager to champion brain-machine interfaces. Some, like Elon Musk's Neuralink, which plans to give paralyzed patients the power to work computers with their minds, are focused on assistive applications. Others have broader plans: Facebook wants people to text by imaging the words, and Brian Johnson's Kernel hopes to enhance cognitive abilities.

During his postdoctoral studies, Patel saw how just a short pulse of electricity—no more than 500 milliseconds of stimulation—could control a person's ability to make a safe or impulsive decision. After a little zap, subjects who almost always chose the risky bet, instead went with the safe option. "You would have no idea that it's happened," Patel said. "You're unaware of it. It's beyond your conscious awareness."

Such power demands intense ethical scrutiny. For people struggling to combat addiction or obsessive-compulsive disorder, an external pulse regulator could significantly improve their quality of life. But, companies that operate those regulators could access their client's most personal data—their thoughts. And, if enhanced learning and memory are for sale, who gets to buy a better brain? "One does need to be a little careful about the ethics involved if you're trying to make a superhuman," Lieber said. "Being able to help people is much more important to me at this time."

Mesh electronics still have several major challenges to overcome: scaling up the number of implanted electrodes, processing the data flood those implants deliver, and feeding that information back into the system to enable live recalibration.

"I always joke in talks that I'm doing this because my memory has gotten a little worse than it used to be," Lieber said. "That's natural aging. But does it have to be that way? What if you could correct it?" If he and Patel succeed in galvanizing researchers around mesh electronics, the question might not be if but when.


The Future of Mind Control

Erasing and implanting memories has long been an inspiration for many Hollywood films, most notably movies like Inception, Total Recall, or Dark City. But this idea sounds so far fetched that most people don’t worry about this being a real possibility. However, optogenetics may make memory tampering a reality in the future. Optogenetics is a relatively new experimental procedure which uses light to activate or inactivate highly specific neurons via light-sensitive channels. The subjects need to have -sensitive proteins, like channelrhodopsin or halorhodopsin added for this procedure to work. Theseproteins are naturally found in a variety of organisms, but are genetically inserted into other organisms such a rats. Once the protein is in the subject, every time a light is shown the neuron will fire. The light activates the flow of electoral ions such as calcium or sodium that causes the neuron to produce an action potential.

This procedure has been used in mice to control their eating or drinking habits (Jennings, 2013). The mice are genetically engineered to have these light-sensitive proteins, and a wire is implanted into their brain. Researchers showed that the mice will continue to eat while the light is turned on, even if they do not feel hungry. The only way to stop the mice from eating is by turning off the light. By simply switching on or off a light, one is able to control a neuron from firing, resulting in tangible and involuntary changes in behavior. This technique can be used to determine which neurons are needed for certain actions. Also, scientists can now determine what function a neuron has by activating it or deactivating and observing the effects.

There have been some theories that caffeine may prevent memory deficits by perhaps inhibiting the adenosine A2A receptor. A 2015 study showed that the activation of adenosine A2A receptor in the hippocampus, using optogenetics, was enough to impair spatial memory in mice (Li, P. et al., 2015). This study not only demonstrates the correlation between caffeine and a decrease in memory loss, but this also shows the possibility of deleting and impairing memories in mice using optogenetics. Another study showed that if neurons in the thalamic nucleus reuniens were activated using optogentics the working memory in mice also showed deficits (Duan et al. 2015). As this technique becomes more advanced and is used more often scientists will have a better understanding of which neurons affect memory and how they are affecting it.

Optogenetics was used to look at the effect of nucleus acccumbens (NAc) on the regulation of “cocaine-context associated” memory. What they found was that when the NAc neurons were activated the mice essentially “forgot” that cocaine was located in that region. The scientist also noticed that the activation caused a decreased number of c-Fos + cells in the VP, which has previously been correlated with a “decrease in drug seeking” (Smith et al., 2013). They concluded that these neurons were important for the regulating reward-seeking behavior caused by cocaine. This may be important for determining how addiction is formed and perhaps helping addition problems.

“The Encultured Brain” by Ridley has a chapter that focuses on the addiction and the idea that the environment can trigger the need to use drugs. Lende writes, “…signals for salience depend on the presence of cues, the structure of environment, and present and past states” (348). This shows the importance of certain environmental triggers for drug addicts. If optogentics can aid in the deletion of the memories involved with the recall of these environments, it can have a drastic effects on the how we treat drug addictions. Not only can memories be erased, but false memories can also be added. A 2013 study showed that when dentate gyrus neurons were activated mice froze in a place where they had never been shocked before, showing fear (Ramirez et al., 2013). This fear was not there prior, but after a light was shown these mice had memories of fear in a novel place.

Although optogenetics is fairly new, it is quickly being incorporated into many experiments, and it is allowing us to better understand what effect activating or deactivating neurons has on behavior. It is clear that it is possible, at least in mice, to make a mouse do certain things using optogenetics, we can even erase memories and “make” new ones. One day those sci-fi movies may not look so impossible.


Cross-disciplinary cooperation is needed to save civilization

What, then, can be done? Such technological challenges go beyond the reach of a single discipline. CRISPR, for example, may be an invention within genetics, but its impact is vast, asking for oversight and ethical safeguards that are far from our current reality. The same with global warming, rampant environmental destruction, and growing levels of air pollution/greenhouse gas emissions that are fast emerging as we crawl into a post-pandemic era. Instead of learning the lessons from our 18 months of seclusion — that we are fragile to nature's powers, that we are co-dependent and globally linked in irreversible ways, that our individual choices affect many more than ourselves — we seem to be bent on decompressing our accumulated urges with impunity.

The experience from our experiment with the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement has taught us a few lessons that we hope can be extrapolated to the rest of society: (1) that there is huge public interest in this kind of cross-disciplinary conversation between the sciences and the humanities (2) that there is growing consensus in academia that this conversation is needed and urgent, as similar institutes emerge in other schools (3) that in order for an open cross-disciplinary exchange to be successful, a common language needs to be established with people talking to each other and not past each other (4) that university and high school curricula should strive to create more courses where this sort of cross-disciplinary exchange is the norm and not the exception (5) that this conversation needs to be taken to all sectors of society and not kept within isolated silos of intellectualism.

Moving beyond the two-culture divide is not simply an interesting intellectual exercise it is, as humanity wrestles with its own indecisions and uncertainties, an essential step to ensure our project of civilization.


Does the Future Need Us? The Future of Humanity and Technology

The voices of some educated, thoughtful people are starting to raise questions about just how human we can remain in the face of developing technology. Don Closson examines those concerns and provides a Christian response.

In April of 2000, Bill Joy ignited a heated discussion concerning the role of technology in modern society. His article in Wired magazine became the focus of a growing concern that technological advances are coming so quickly and are so dramatic that they threaten the future existence of humanity itself. It is relatively easy for baby-boomers to discount such apocalyptic language since we grew up being entertained by countless movies and books warning of the dire consequences from uncontrolled scientific experimentation. We tend to lump cries of impending doom from technology with fringe lunatics like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Kaczynski killed three people and injured others in a seventeen-year attempt to scare away or kill researchers who were close to creating technologies that he felt might have unintended consequences.

But Bill Joy is no Ted Kaczynski. He is the chief scientist for Sun Microsystems, a major player in computer technology and the Internet. He played an important role in the founding of Sun Microsystems and has been instrumental in making UNIX (operating system) the backbone of the Internet. So it is a surprise to find him warning us that some types of knowledge, some technologies should remain unexplored. Joy is calling for a new set of ethics that will guide our quest for knowledge away from dangerous research.

Another voice with a similar warning is that of Francis Fukuyama, professor of political economy at Johns Hopkins University. His book Our Posthuman Future asks disturbing questions about the potential unintended results from the current revolution in biotechnology. He writes, “the most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move us into a “posthuman” stage of history.” Once human nature is disrupted, the belief that we are created equal might no longer be tenable causing both civil and economic strife.

There is also a Christian tradition that questions modernity’s unrestrained quest for technological power. C. S. Lewis warned us of a society that has explained away every mystery, and the danger of what he calls “man-molders.” He states that “the man-molders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omni-competent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they please.” In his book The Technological Society, Jacques Ellul argues that we have come to the place where rationally arrived-at methods and absolute efficiency are all that really matters.

Let’s consider the many voices warning us of the unintended consequences of modern technology.

Three Dangerous Technologies

Bill Joy argues that humanity is in danger from technologies that he believes are just around the corner. His concern is that robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology present risks unlike anything we have created in the past. The key to understanding these new risks is the fact that these technologies share one remarkable potential that is, self-replication. With all the present talk of weapons of mass destruction, Joy is more concerned about weapons of knowledge-enabled mass destruction. Joy writes:

I think it is no exaggeration to say that we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation-states, on to a surprising and terrible empowerment of extreme individuals.

Joy believes that we will have intelligent robots by 2030, nano-replicators by 2020, and that the genetic revolution is already upon us. We all have a picture of what an intelligent robot might look like. Hollywood has given us many stories of that kind of technology gone wrong the Terminator series for example.

The big debate today is whether or not true artificial intelligence is possible. Some like Danny Hillis, co-founder of Thinking Machines Corporation, believe that humans will probably merge with computers at some point. He says, “I’m as fond of my body as anyone, but if I can be 200 with a body of silicon, I’ll take it.” The human brain would provide the intelligence that computer science has yet to create for smart robots. The combination of human and silicon could make self-replicating robots a reality and challenge the existence of mankind, as we know it today.

Nanotechnology is used to construct very small machines. IBM recently announced that it has succeeded in creating a computer circuit composed of individual carbon monoxide atoms, a remarkable breakthrough. Although dreamed about since the 1950’s, nanotechnology has recently made significant progress towards the construction of molecular-level “assemblers” that could solve a myriad of problems for humanity. They could construct low cost solar power materials, cures for diseases, inexpensive pocket supercomputers, and almost any product of which one could dream. However, they could also be made into weapons, self-replicating weapons. Some have called this the “gray goo” problem. For example, picture molecular sized machines that destroy all edible plant life over a large geographic area.

Surprisingly, Bill Joy concludes “The only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge.”

The End of Humanity?

History is filled with people who believed that they were racially superior to others Nazi Germany is one obvious example. An aspect of America’s uniqueness is the belief that all people are created equal and have rights endowed to them by their Creator that cannot easily be taken away. But what if it became overtly obvious that people are not equal, that some, because they could afford new genetic therapy, could have children that were brighter, stronger, and generally more capable than everyone else? This is the question being asked by Francis Fukuyama in his book Our Posthuman Future. The answer he comes up with is not comforting.

He contends that technology is at hand to separate humans into distinct genetic camps and that we will not hesitate to use it.

Fukuyama gives us three possible scenarios for the near future. First, he points to the rapid acceptance and widespread use of psychotropic drugs like Prozac and Ritalin as an indication that future mind altering drugs will find a receptive market. What if neuropharmacology continues to advance to the point where psychotropic drugs can be tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup in order to make everyone “happy,” without the side effects of the current drugs? It might even become possible to adopt different personalities on different days, extroverted and gregarious on Friday, reserve and contemplative for classes or work on Monday.

Next, advances in stem cell research might soon allow us to regenerate any tissue in the body. The immediate result would be to dramatically extend normal human life expectancy, which could have a number of unpleasant social and economic implications. Finally, the feasibility of wealthy parents being able to screen embryos before they are placed in the womb is almost upon us. It would be hard to imagine parents denying their offspring the benefit of genetically enhanced intelligence, or the prospect of living longer lives free from genetic disease.

What will happen to civil rights within democratic nations if these predictions come true? Will we end up with a society split into subspecies with different native abilities and opportunities? What if Europe, for instance, is populated with relatively old, healthy, rich people and Africa continues to suffer economic deprivation with a far younger population ravaged by AIDS and other preventable diseases? Interestingly, Fukuyama believes that the greatest reason not to employ some of these new technologies is that they would alter what it means to be human, and with that our notions of human dignity.

The Christian basis for human dignity is the imago Dei, the image of God placed within us by our Creator. Many are questioning the wisdom of chemical and genetic manipulation of humanity, even if it seems like a good idea now.

Early Warnings

There is a long Christian tradition of looking at the surrounding world with suspicion. Whether it’s Tertullian asking the question “what has Athens to do with Jerusalem,” or the Mennonite’s promotion of simplicity and separation, Christians everywhere have had to struggle with the admonition to be in the world but not of it. Recent advances in science and technology are not making this struggle any easier.

For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique and both, in the practice of this technique, are reading to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.

The issue of technique and its standardizing effects was central to the thinking of sociologist Jacques Ellul in The Technological Society. Ellul argues that as a society becomes more technological it also becomes less interested in human beings. As he puts it, the technical world is the world of material things. When it does show an interest in mankind, it does so by converting him into a material object. Ellul warns that as technological capabilities grow, they result in greater and greater means to accomplish tasks than ever before, and he believes that the line between good and evil slowly disappears as this power grows.

Ellul worries that the more dependent we become on technology and technique, the more it conforms our behavior to its requirements rather than vise versa. Whether in corporate headquarters or on military bases much has been written about the de-humanizing effect of the employment of modern technique.

Primarily, he fears that even the church might become enamored with the results of technique. The result would be depending less on the power of God to work through Spirit-filled believers and more on our modern organization and technological skills.

Summary

Without a doubt, technology can help to make a society more productive, and growing productivity is a major predictor for future increases in standards of living. Likewise, technology results in greater opportunities to amass wealth both as a society and for individuals. Communication technology can help to unify a society as well as equalize access to information and thus promote social mobility.

On the other hand, technology can cause harm to both the environment and individuals. The Chernobyl nuclear power disaster in Russia and the Bhopal industrial gas tragedy in India resulted in thousands of deaths due to technological negligence. The widespread access to pornography over the Internet is damaging untold numbers of marriages and relationships. Terrorists have a growing number of inexpensive technologies available to use against civilians including anthrax and so-called radioactive dirty bombs that depend on recent technological advances.

However, it must be said that most Christians do not view technology itself as evil. Technology has remarkable potential for expanding the outreach of ministries and individuals. Probe’s Web site is accessed by close to 100,000 people every month from over one hundred different countries. Modern communications technology makes it possible to broadcast the Gospel to virtually any place on the planet around the clock.

However, in our use of technology, Christians need to keep two principles in mind. First, we cannot give in to the modern tendency to define every problem and solution in scientific or technological terms. Since the Enlightenment, there has been a temptation to think naturalistically, reducing human nature and the rest of Creation to its materialistic component. The Bible speaks clearly of an unseen spiritual world and that we fight against these unseen forces when we work to build God’s kingdom on earth. Ephesians tells us “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Scientific techniques alone will not further God’s kingdom. We must acknowledge that prayer and the spiritual disciplines are necessary to counter the adversary.

Second, we need to remember the power that sin has to tempt us and to mar our thinking. The types of technologies and their uses should be limited and controlled by biblical ethics, not by our desires for more power or wealth. We are to have dominion over the earth as God’s stewards, not as autonomous tyrants seeking greater pleasure and comfort.

1. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1972), 73.
2. Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, (Vintage Books, 1964), p. xxv.
3. Bill Joy, “Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us,” Wired, April 2000.
4. Ibid.
5. Lewis, 69.
6. NIV, Ephesians 6:11-12.

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Don Closson

Don Closson served as Director of Administration and a research associate with Probe for 26 years, until taking a position with the same title at the Centers of Church Based Training (ccbt.org) in 2013. He received the B.S. in education from Southern Illinois University, the M.S. in educational administration from Illinois State University, and the M.A. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served as a public school teacher and administrator before joining Probe and then the CCBT. He is the general editor of Kids, Classrooms, and Contemporary Education.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:


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Three visions of the future, inspired by neuroscience’s past and present

In the future, doctors may be able to treat brain disorders with targeted, reversible therapies that change the behavior of specific brain networks.

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A century ago, science’s understanding of the brain was primitive, like astronomy before telescopes. Certain brain injuries were known to cause specific problems, like loss of speech or vision, but those findings offered a fuzzy view.

Anatomists had identified nerve cells, or neurons, as key components of the brain and nervous system. But nobody knew how these cells collectively manage the brain’s sophisticated control of behavior, memory or emotions. And nobody knew how neurons communicate, or the intricacies of their connections. For that matter, the research field known as neuroscience — the science of the nervous system — did not exist, becoming known as such only in the 1960s.

Over the last 100 years, brain scientists have built their telescopes. Powerful tools for peering inward have revealed cellular constellations. It’s likely that over 100 different kinds of brain cells communicate with dozens of distinct chemicals. A single neuron, scientists have discovered, can connect to tens of thousands of other cells.

Yet neuroscience, though no longer in its infancy, is far from mature.

Today, making sense of the brain’s vexing complexity is harder than ever. Advanced technologies and expanded computing capacity churn out torrents of information. “We have vastly more data … than we ever had before, period,” says Christof Koch, a neuroscientist at the Allen Institute in Seattle. Yet we still don’t have a satisfying explanation of how the brain operates. We may never understand brains in the way we understand rainbows, or black holes, or DNA.

This article is an excerpt from a series celebrating some of the biggest advances in science over the last century. For an expanded version of the past, present and future of neuroscience, visit Century of Science: Our brains, our futures.

Deeper revelations may come from studying the vast arrays of neural connections that move information from one part of the brain to another. Using the latest brain mapping technologies, scientists have begun drawing detailed maps of those neural highways, compiling a comprehensive atlas of the brain’s communication systems, known as the connectome.

Those maps are providing a more realistic picture than early work that emphasized the roles of certain brain areas over the connections among them, says Michael D. Fox, a neuroscientist who directs the Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Scientists now know that the dot on the map is less important than the roads leading in and out.

“With the building of the human connectome, this wiring diagram of the human brain, we all of a sudden had the resources and the tools to begin to look at [the brain] differently,” Fox says.

Scientists are already starting to use these new brain maps to treat disorders. That’s the main goal of Fox’s center, dedicated to changing brain circuits in ways that alleviate disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. “Maybe for the first time in history, we’ve got the tools to map these symptoms onto human brain circuits, and we’ve got the tools to intervene and modulate these circuits,” Fox says.

The goal sounds grandiose, but Fox doesn’t think it’s a stretch. “My deadline is a decade from now,” he says.

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Whether it’s 10 years from now or 50, by imagining what’s ahead, we can remind ourselves of the progress that’s already been made, of the neural galaxies that have been discovered and mapped. And we can allow ourselves a moment of wonder at what might come next.

The three fictional vignettes that follow illustrate some of those future possibilities. No doubt they will be wrong in the details, but each is rooted in research that’s under way today, as described in the “reality checks” that follow each imagined scenario.

Science future: brain bots


What if nanobots could slide into the brain to end a bout of depression before it started? Glenn Harvey

Sarah had made up her mind. After five years, she was going to get her neural net removed. The millions of nanobots in her brain had given her life back to her, by helping her mind to work again. They had done their job. It was time to get them out.

After Sarah’s baby was born on the summer solstice, things got dark. The following months had tipped Sarah into a postpartum depression that kept her from enjoying her gorgeous, perfect little girl.

Unable to feel much of anything, Sarah barely moved through those early days. She rarely looked at the baby. She forgot to eat. She would sit in a dark room for hours, air conditioner on full blast, staring at nothing. Those endless days stretched until an unseasonably hot September morning. Her mother watched the baby while Sarah’s husband drove her to the Institute for Neuroprosthetics, a low-slung brick building in the suburbs of Nashville.

Inside, Sarah barely listened as the clinic coordinator described the technology again. An injection would deliver the nanobots to her blood. Then a tech would guide the bots, using a magnet, from her arm toward her head. A fast, strong pulse of ultrasound would open the blood-brain barrier temporarily, allowing an army of minuscule particles to slip in.

Powered by the molecular motion inherent in the brain, the nanobots would spread out to form a web of microscopic electrodes. That neural network could pinpoint where Sarah’s brain circuitry was misfiring and repair it with precise but persuasive electrical nudges.

Over the following weeks, Sarah’s nanobots learned the neural rhythms of her brain as she moved through her life with debilitating depression. With powerful computational help — and regular tinkering by the clinic technologist — the system soon learned to spot the earliest neural rumblings of a deteriorating mood. Once those warning signs were clear, Sarah’s web of nanobots could end budding episodes before they could take her down.

Soon after the injection, Sarah’s laugh started to reappear, though sometimes at the wrong times. She recalled the day she and her husband took the baby to a family birthday party. In the middle of a story about her uncle’s dementia treatment, Sarah’s squawks of laughter silenced the room.

Those closest to her understood, but most of her family and friends didn’t know about the millions of bots working to shore up her brain.

After a few months and some adjustments, Sarah’s emotions evened out. The numb, cold depression was gone. Gone too were the inappropriate bursts of laughter, flashes of white rage and insatiable appetites. She was able to settle in with her new family, and feel — really feel — the joy of it all.

But was this joy hers alone? Maybe it belonged to the army of tiny, ever-vigilant helpers, reworking and evening out her brain. Without her neural net, she might have been teary watching her daughter, still her baby, walk into her kindergarten classroom on the first day. Instead, Sarah waved, turned and went to work, feeling only slightly wistful, nothing more intense than that.

The science supporting the success of neural nets was staggering. They could efficiently fix huge problems: addiction, dementia, eating disorders and more. But the science couldn’t answer bigger questions of identity and control — what it means to be a person.

That search for herself is what drove Sarah back to the clinic, five years after she welcomed the nanobots in.

Her technologist went over the simple extraction procedure: a quick ultrasound pulse to loosen the blood-brain barrier again, a strong magnet over the inside of Sarah’s elbow and a blood draw. He looked at her. “You ready?”

She took a deep breath. “Yes.”

Reality check: brain bots

In this story, Sarah received a treatment that doesn’t exist in the real world. But the idea that scientists will be able to change certain brain networks — and improve health — is not fiction. It’s happening.

Already, a technique known as deep brain stimulation, or DBS, uses electrodes surgically implanted in people’s brains to tweak the behavior of brain cells. Such electrode implants are helping reduce Parkinson’s tremors, epileptic seizures and uncontrollable movements caused by Tourette’s syndrome. Mood disorders like Sarah’s have been targeted too.

Electrodes penetrate deep into the brain of a 58-year-old person to treat Parkinson’s disease. Deep brain stimulation is being improved and tested in movement disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Zephyr/Science Source

The central idea of DBS — that the brain can be fixed by stimulating it — is not new. In the 1930s, psychiatrists discovered that a massive wallop of seizure-inducing electricity could sometimes relieve psychiatric symptoms. In the 1940s and 1950s, researchers studied whether more constrained electrical stimulation could help with disorders such as depression.

In 1948, for instance, neurosurgeon J. Lawrence Pool of Columbia University’s Neurological Institute of New York implanted electrodes to stimulate the brain of a woman with severe Parkinson’s who had become depressed and lost weight. Soon, she began to “eat well, put on weight and react in a more cheerful manner,” Pool reported in 1954.

The experiment ended three years later when one of the wires broke. “It is the writer’s conviction that focal controlled stimulation of the human brain is a new technique in psychosurgery that is here to stay,” Pool wrote.

Compared with those early days, today’s scientists understand a lot more about how to selectively influence brain activity. But before a treatment such as Sarah’s is possible, two major challenges must be addressed: Doctors need better tools — nimble and powerful systems that are durable enough to work consistently inside the brain for years — and they need to know where in the brain to target the treatment. That location differs among disorders, and even among people.

These are big problems, but the various pieces needed for this sort of precision healing are beginning to coalesce.

The specs of the technology that will be capable of listening to brain activity and intervening as needed is anyone’s guess. Yet those nanobots that snuck into Sarah’s brain from her blood do have roots in current research. For example, Caltech’s Mikhail Shapiro and colleagues are working toward nanoscale robots that roam the body and act as doctors (SN: 10/10/20 & 10/24/20, p. 27).

Other kinds of sensors are growing up, fast. In the last 20 years, electrodes have improved by an astonishing amount, becoming smaller, more flexible and less likely to scar the brain, says biomedical engineer Cynthia Chestek. When she began working on electrode development in the early 2000s, there were still insolvable problems, she says, including the scars that big, stiff electrodes can leave, and the energy they require to operate. “We didn’t know if anybody was ever going to deal with them.”

But those problems have largely been overcome, says Chestek, whose lab team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor develops carbon fiber electrodes. Imagine the future, Chestek says. “You could have thousands of electrodes safely interfacing with neurons. At that point, it becomes really standard medical practice.”

Neural dust — minuscule electrodes powered by external ultrasounds — already can pick up nerve and muscle activity in rats. Neuropixels can record electrical activity from over 10,000 sites in mice’s brains. And mesh electrodes, called neural lace, have been injected into the brains of mice.

Arrays of electrodes are getting smaller and more reliable, collecting an onslaught of data about brains at work. Shown is Neuropixels, an array created by the company Imec, that contains nearly 1,000 electrodes. IMEC

Once inside, these nets integrate into the tissue and record brain activity from many cells. So far, these mesh electrodes have captured neural activity over months as the mice have scurried around.

Other systems under development can be controlled with magnets, light or ultrasound. There are still problems to solve, Chestek says, but none are insurmountable. “We just need to figure out the last set of practical tricks,” she says.

Once scientists know how to reliably change brain activity, they need to know where to make the change. Precision targeting is complicated by the fact that ultimately, every part of the brain is connected to every other part, in a very Kevin Bacon way.

Advances in tractography — the study of the physical connections among groups of nerve cells — are pointing to which parts of these neural highways could be targeted to deal with certain problems.

Other studies of people with implanted electrodes reveal brain networks in action. When certain electrodes were stimulated, people experienced immediate and obvious changes in their moods (SN: 2/16/19, p. 22). Those electrodes were near the neural tracts that converge in a brain region just behind and above the eyes called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex.

In the future, we might all have our personalized brain wiring diagrams mapped, Fox says. And perhaps for any symptom — anxiety, food craving or addiction — doctors could find the brain circuit responsible. “Now we’ve got our target,” he says. “We can either hold the neuromodulation tool outside your scalp, or implant a tool inside your head, and we’re going to fix that circuit.”

The hurdles to building a nimble, powerful and precise system similar to the one that helped Sarah are high. But past successes suggest that innovative, aggressive research will find ways around current barriers. For people with mood disorders, addiction, dementia or any other ailment rooted in the brain, those advances can’t come soon enough.

Science future: mind meld

Does the future hold a way for humans to connect with say, a bird, to get a memory boost? Glenn Harvey

Sofia couldn’t sleep. Tomorrow was the big day. As the project manager for the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, she had overseen years of prize announcements, but never one like this.

At 11:30 a.m. Central European Summer Time tomorrow, the prize would be given to a bird named Harry, a 16-year-old Clark’s nutcracker. Sofia smiled in the dark as she thought about how the news would land.

Harry was to be recognized for benefiting humankind “in his role as a pioneering memory collective that enhances human minds.” Harry would share the prize (and the money) with his two human trainers.

Tomorrow morning, the world would be buzzing, Sofia knew. But as with every Nobel Prize, the story began long before the announcement. Even in the 20th century, scientists had been dreaming of, and tinkering with, merging different kinds of minds.

As the technology got more precise and less invasive, human-to-human links grew seamless, inspired by ancient and intriguing examples of conjoined twins with shared awareness. External headsets could send and receive signals between brains, such as “silent speech” and sights and sounds.

Next, scientists began looking to other species’ brains for different types of skills that might boost our human abilities. Other animals have different ways of seeing, feeling, experiencing and remembering the world. That’s where Harry came in.

Crows, ravens and other corvids have prodigious memories. That’s especially true for Clark’s nutcrackers. These gray and black birds can remember the locations of an estimated 10,000 seed stashes at any given time. These powerful memory abilities soon caught the eye of scientists eager to augment human memory.

The scientists weren’t talking about remembering where the car is parked in the airport lot. They set their sights higher. Done right, these enhancements could allow a person to build stunningly complete internal maps of their world, remembering every place they had ever been. And it turned out that these memory feats didn’t just stop at physical locations. Strengthening one type of memory led to improvements in other kinds of memories too. The systems grew stronger all around.

Harry wasn’t the first bird to link up with humans, but he has been one of the best. As a young bird, Harry underwent several years of intense training (aided by his favorite treat, whitebark pine seeds). Using a sophisticated implanted brain chip, he learned to merge his neural signals with those of a person who was having memory trouble or needed a temporary boost. The connection usually lasted for a few hours a day, but its effects endured. Noticeable improvements in people’s memories held fast for months after a session with Harry. The people who tried it called the change “breathtaking.” The bird had made history.

By showing this sort of human-animal mind meld was possible, and beneficial, Harry and his trainers had helped create an entirely new field, one worthy of Nobel recognition, Sofia thought.

Some scientists are now building on what Harry’s brain could do during these mingling sessions. Others are expanding to different animal abilities: allowing people to “see” in the dark like echolocating bats, or “taste” with their arms like octopuses. Imagine doctors being able to smell diseases, an olfactory skill borrowed from dogs. News outlets were already starting to run interviews with people who had augmented animal awareness.

Still wide awake, Sofia’s mind ran back through the meetings she had held with her communications team over the last week. Tomorrow’s announcement would bring amusement and delight. But she also expected to hear strong objections, from religious groups, animal rights activists and even some ethicists concerned about species blurring. The team was prepared for protests, lots of them.

In the middle of the night, these worries seemed a smidge more substantial to Sofia. Then she thought of Harry flitting around, hiding seeds, and the threat faded away. Sofia marveled at how far the science had come since she was a girl, and how far it was bound to go. Fully exhausted, she rolled over, ready to sleep, ready for tomorrow. She smiled again as she thought about what she’d tell people, if the chance arose: For better or worse, resistance is futile.

Reality check: mind meld

Accepting that a bird could win a Nobel Prize demands a pretty long flight of fancy. But scientists have already directly linked together multiple brains.

Today, the technology that makes such connections possible is just getting off the ground. We are in the “Kitty Hawk” days of brain interface technologies, says computational neuroscientist Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington in Seattle, who is working on brain-based communication systems. In the future, these systems will inevitably fly higher.

Such technology might even take people beyond the confines of their bodies, creating a sort of extended cognition, possibly enabling new abilities, Rao says. “This direct connection between brains — maybe that’s another way we can make a leap in our human evolution.”

Rao helped organize a three-way direct brain chat, in which three people sent and received messages using only their minds while playing a game similar to Tetris. Signals from the thoughts of two players’ brains moved over the internet and into the back of the receiver’s brain via a burst of magnetic stimulation designed to mimic information coming from the eyes.

Senders could transmit signals that told the receiver to rotate a piece, for instance, before dropping it down. Those results, published in 2019 in Scientific Reports, represent the first time multiple people have communicated directly with their brains.

An EEG cap measures brain signals of a “sender” (shown) as she and two other people play a video game with their brains. Those signals form instructions that are sent directly to the brain of another player who can’t see the board but must decide what to do based on the instructions. Mark Stone/Univ. of Washington

Other projects have looped in animals, though no birds yet. In 2019, people took control of six awake rats’ brains, guiding the animals’ movements through mazes via thought. A well-trained rat cyborg could reach turning accuracy of nearly 100 percent, the researchers reported.

But those rats took commands from a person they did not send information back. Continuous back-and-forth exchanges are a prerequisite for an accomplishment like Harry’s.

These types of experiments are happening too. A recent study linked three monkeys’ brains, allowing their minds to collectively move an avatar arm on a 3-D screen. Each monkey was in charge of moving in two of three dimensions left or right, up or down, and near or far. Those overlapping yet distinct jobs caused the networked monkeys to flounder initially. But soon enough, their neural cooperation became seamless as they learned to move the avatar arm to be rewarded with a sip of juice.

With technological improvements, the variety of signals that can move between brains will increase. And with that, these brain collectives might be able to accomplish even more. “One brain can do only so much, but if you bring many brains together, directly connected in a network, it’s possible that they could create inventions that no single mind could think of by itself,” Rao says.

Groups of brains might be extra good at certain jobs. A collective of surgeons, for instance, could pool their expertise for a particularly difficult operation. A collective of fast-thinking pilots could drive a drone over hostile territory. A collective of intelligence experts could sift through murky espionage material.

Maybe one day, information from an animal’s brain might augment human brains — although it’s unlikely that the neural signals from a well-trained Clark’s nutcracker will be the top choice for a memory aid. Artificial intelligence, or even human intelligence, might make better memory partners. Whatever the source, these external “nodes” could ultimately expand and change a human brain’s connectome.

Still, connecting brains directly is fraught with ethical questions. One aspect, the idea of an “extended mind,” poses particularly wild conundrums, says bioethicist Elisabeth Hildt of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

“Part of me is connected and extended to this other human being,” she says. “Is this me? Is this someone else? Am I doing this myself?” she asks.

Some scientists think it’s too early to contemplate what it might feel like to have our minds dispersed across multiple brains (SN: 2/13/21, p. 24). Others disagree. “It may be too late if we wait until we understand the brain to study the ethics of brain interfacing,” Rao says. “The technology is already racing ahead.”

So feel free to mull over how it would feel to connect minds with a bird. If you were the human who could link to the mind of Harry the Clark’s nutcracker, for instance, perhaps you might start to dream of flying.

Science future: thoughts for sale

Will people be willing to let their inner thoughts and interests be monitored, for a fee? Glenn Harvey

Javier had just been fired. “They’re done with me,” he told his coworker Marcus. “They’re done with the whole Signal program.”

Marcus shook his head. “I’m sorry, man.”

Javier went on: “It gets worse they’re moving all of Signal’s data into the information market.”

The two were in the transportation business. Javier was the director of neural systems engagement for Zou, an on-demand ride hailing and courier system in Los Angeles. After the self-driving industry imploded because of too many accidents, Zou drove into L.A. with a promise of safety — so the company needed to make sure its drivers were the best.

That’s where Javier and his team came in. The ambitious idea of the Signal program was to incentivize drivers with cash, using their brain data, gathered by gray headsets.

Drivers with alert and focused brains earned automatic bonuses a green power bar on-screen in the car showed minute-to-minute earnings. Drivers whose brains appeared sluggish or aggressive didn’t earn extra. Instead, they were warned. If the problem continued, they were fired.

This carrot-and-stick system, developed by Javier and his team, worked beautifully at first. But a few months in, accidents started creeping back up.

The problem, it turned out, was the brain itself: It changes. Human brains learn, find creative solutions, remake themselves. Incentivized to maintain a certain type of brain activity, drivers’ brains quickly learned to produce those signals — even if they didn’t correspond to better driving. Neural work-arounds sparked a race that Javier ultimately lost.

That failure was made worse by Zou’s latest plans. What had started as a driving experiment had morphed into an irresistible way for the company to make money. The plan was to gather and sell valuable data — information on how the drivers’ brains responded to a certain style of music, how excited drivers got when they saw a digital billboard for a vacation resort and how they reacted to a politician’s promises.

Zou was going to require employees to wear the headsets when they weren’t driving. The caps would collect data while the drivers ate, while they grocery shopped and while they talked with their kids, slurping up personal neural details and selling them to the highest bidders.

Of course, the employees could refuse. They could decide to take off the caps and quit. “But what kind of choice is that?” Javier asked. “Most of these drivers would open up their skulls for a paycheck.”

Marcus shook his head, and then asked, “How much extra are they going to pay?”

“Who knows,” Javier said. “Maybe nothing. Maybe they’ll just slip the data consent line into the standard contract.”

The two men looked at each other and shook their heads in unison. There wasn’t much left to say.

Reality check: thoughts for sale

Javier’s fictional program, Signal, was built with information gleaned externally from drivers’ brains. Today’s technology isn’t there yet. But it’s tiptoeing closer.

Some companies already sell brain monitoring systems made of electrodes that measure external brain waves with a method called electroencephalography. For now, these headsets are sold as wellness devices. For a few hundred dollars, you can own a headset that promises to fine-tune your meditation practice, help you make better decisions or even level up your golf game. EEG caps can measure alertness already some controversial experiments have monitored schoolchildren as they listened to their teacher.

The claims by these companies are big, and they haven’t been proven to deliver. “It is unclear whether consumer EEG devices can reveal much of anything,” ethicist Anna Wexler of the University of Pennsylvania argued in a commentary in Nature Biotechnology in 2019. Still, improvements in these devices, and the algorithms that decode the signals they detect, may someday enable more sophisticated information to be reliably pulled from the brain.

Other types of technology, such as functional MRI scans, can pull more detailed information from the brain.

Complex visual scenes, including clips of movies that people were watching, can be extracted from brain scans. Psychologist Jack Gallant and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley built captivating visual scenes using data from people’s brains as they lay in an fMRI scanner. A big red bird swooped across the screen, elephants marched in a row and Steve Martin walked across the screen, all impressionistic versions of images pulled from people’s brain activity.

That work, published in 2011, foreshadowed ever more complex brain-reading tricks. More recently, researchers used fMRI signals to re-create faces that people were seeing.

Visual scenes are one thing will our more nebulous thoughts, beliefs and memories ever be accessible? It’s not impossible. Take a study from Japan, published in 2013. Scientists identified the contents of three sleeping people’s dreams, using an fMRI machine. But re-creating those dreams required hours of someone telling a scientist about other dreams first. To get the data they wanted, scientists first needed to be invited into the dreamers’ minds, in a way. Those three people were each awakened over 200 times early in the experiments and asked to describe what they had been dreaming about.

More portable and more reliable ways to eavesdrop on the brain from the outside are moving forward fast, a swiftness that has prompted some ethicists, scientists and futurists to call for special protections of neural data. Debates over who can access our brain activity, and for what purposes, will only grow more intense as the technology improves.

Questions or comments on this article? E-mail us at [email protected]

A version of this article appears in the March 13, 2021 issue of Science News.


The Future of Mind Control

Erasing and implanting memories has long been an inspiration for many Hollywood films, most notably movies like Inception, Total Recall, or Dark City. But this idea sounds so far fetched that most people don’t worry about this being a real possibility. However, optogenetics may make memory tampering a reality in the future. Optogenetics is a relatively new experimental procedure which uses light to activate or inactivate highly specific neurons via light-sensitive channels. The subjects need to have -sensitive proteins, like channelrhodopsin or halorhodopsin added for this procedure to work. Theseproteins are naturally found in a variety of organisms, but are genetically inserted into other organisms such a rats. Once the protein is in the subject, every time a light is shown the neuron will fire. The light activates the flow of electoral ions such as calcium or sodium that causes the neuron to produce an action potential.

This procedure has been used in mice to control their eating or drinking habits (Jennings, 2013). The mice are genetically engineered to have these light-sensitive proteins, and a wire is implanted into their brain. Researchers showed that the mice will continue to eat while the light is turned on, even if they do not feel hungry. The only way to stop the mice from eating is by turning off the light. By simply switching on or off a light, one is able to control a neuron from firing, resulting in tangible and involuntary changes in behavior. This technique can be used to determine which neurons are needed for certain actions. Also, scientists can now determine what function a neuron has by activating it or deactivating and observing the effects.

There have been some theories that caffeine may prevent memory deficits by perhaps inhibiting the adenosine A2A receptor. A 2015 study showed that the activation of adenosine A2A receptor in the hippocampus, using optogenetics, was enough to impair spatial memory in mice (Li, P. et al., 2015). This study not only demonstrates the correlation between caffeine and a decrease in memory loss, but this also shows the possibility of deleting and impairing memories in mice using optogenetics. Another study showed that if neurons in the thalamic nucleus reuniens were activated using optogentics the working memory in mice also showed deficits (Duan et al. 2015). As this technique becomes more advanced and is used more often scientists will have a better understanding of which neurons affect memory and how they are affecting it.

Optogenetics was used to look at the effect of nucleus acccumbens (NAc) on the regulation of “cocaine-context associated” memory. What they found was that when the NAc neurons were activated the mice essentially “forgot” that cocaine was located in that region. The scientist also noticed that the activation caused a decreased number of c-Fos + cells in the VP, which has previously been correlated with a “decrease in drug seeking” (Smith et al., 2013). They concluded that these neurons were important for the regulating reward-seeking behavior caused by cocaine. This may be important for determining how addiction is formed and perhaps helping addition problems.

“The Encultured Brain” by Ridley has a chapter that focuses on the addiction and the idea that the environment can trigger the need to use drugs. Lende writes, “…signals for salience depend on the presence of cues, the structure of environment, and present and past states” (348). This shows the importance of certain environmental triggers for drug addicts. If optogentics can aid in the deletion of the memories involved with the recall of these environments, it can have a drastic effects on the how we treat drug addictions. Not only can memories be erased, but false memories can also be added. A 2013 study showed that when dentate gyrus neurons were activated mice froze in a place where they had never been shocked before, showing fear (Ramirez et al., 2013). This fear was not there prior, but after a light was shown these mice had memories of fear in a novel place.

Although optogenetics is fairly new, it is quickly being incorporated into many experiments, and it is allowing us to better understand what effect activating or deactivating neurons has on behavior. It is clear that it is possible, at least in mice, to make a mouse do certain things using optogenetics, we can even erase memories and “make” new ones. One day those sci-fi movies may not look so impossible.


Modern Day Mind Control Overview

The topic of mind control is elaborate, multifaceted, and multi layered. For the casual reader, it can quickly become numbing, overwhelming the senses and creating a desire to exit the topic, but avoiding this subject is the most foolish thing you could possibly do since your only chance of surviving this hideous and insidious enslavement agenda, which today threatens virtually all of humanity, is to understand how it functions and take steps to reduce your vulnerability.The plans to create a mind controlled workers society have been in place for a long time. The current technology grew out of experiments that the Nazis started before World War II and intensified during the time of the Nazi concentration camps when an unlimited supply of children and adults were available for experimentation. We’ve heard about the inhumane medical experiments performed on concentration camp prisoners, but no word was ever mentioned by the media and the TV documentaries of the mind control experiments. That was not to be divulged to the American public. Mind control technologies can be broadly divided into two subsets: trauma-based or electronic-based.

The first phase of government mind control development grew out of the old occult techniques which required the victim to be exposed to massive psychological and physical trauma, usually beginning in infancy, in order to cause the psyche to shatter into a thousand alter personalities which can then be separately programmed to perform any function (or job) that the programmer wishes to”install”. Each alter personality created is separate and distinct from the front personality. The ‘front personality’ is unaware of the existence or activities of the alter personalities. Alter personalities can be brought to the surface by programmers or handlers using special codes, usually stored in a laptop computer. The victim of mind control can also be affected by specific sounds, words, or actions known as triggers.

The second phase of mind control development was refined at an underground base below Fort Hero on Montauk , Long Island (New York) and is referred to as the Montauk Project. The earliest adolescent victims of Montauk style programming, so called Montauk Boys, were programmed using trauma-based techniques, but that method was eventually abandoned in favor of an all-electronic induction process which could be “installed” in a matter of days (or even hours) instead of the many years that it took to complete trauma-based methods.


A Nauseating Corner of Psychology: Disgust

Like many features of the human condition, the first psychological account of disgust comes from Charles Darwin, who in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals defined it this way: “Something revolting, primarily in relation to the sense of taste, as actually perceived or vividly imagined and secondarily to anything which causes a similar feeling, through the sense of smell, touch and even eyesight.”[1] Theories of disgust bounced around following Darwin. Throughout the 20 th century it was a niche area of research, but by the 1990s disgust was popular in psychology. Spearheading this movement was Paul Rozin, a clever psychologist who devised several experiments that revealed what elicits disgust. Think about eating soup from a sterilized bedpan or eating chocolate molded to resemble dog feces. Not pleasant, right? Rozin’s insight was that disgust is the “fear of incorporating an offending substance into one’s body.”[2]

Disgust’s evolutionary origins are not a mystery. Humans are omnivores (we eat just about anything we can digest), so disgust acted as a food rejection system – a helpful emotional reminder that it’s not safe to feast indiscriminately. This is why carrion, vomit, feces, mucus, rotten meat, effluvia and other things loaded with dangerous microbes and parasites are so repulsive. Hundreds of thousands of years before Louis Pasteur discovered germ theory, natural selection had already endowed us with an implicit knowledge of it, which is why we not only refuse to eat said contaminates but also touch and think about them.

Disgust is universal but humans don’t express it until they are between three and four years old. In a slightly evil experiment Rozin and his colleagues found that children happily gobbled up dog feces (it was really peanut butter and smelly cheese) and grasshoppers. For parents, this study confirms the obvious: children younger than two put virtually everything in their mouths – a behavior Freud thought linked to sexuality (it doesn’t). Because disgust emerges a few years after birth it differs from culture to culture beyond a few universals. The mystery is: Why do different cultures develop disgust for different foods?

One line of reasoning is that disgust is a reaction to health issues. Many Jews believe that Judaism forbids pork because pigs are dirty.[3] Some Muslims likewise think that the Islamic code that designates what foods are permissible for Muslims, Halal, bans the consumption of pork for health reasons. This explanation is plagued with inconsistencies. It’s true that pigs wallow in their own urine and eat feces. But this is also true of cows, dogs, and chickens under certain conditions.

Another possibility is that disgust was used to strengthen community bonds. As Steven Pinker puts it, food taboos “make the merest prelude to cooperation with outsiders – breaking bread together – an unmistakable act of defiance.” Judaism might have forbidden pork because the Philistines, who were the one of the Israelites’ main opponents, ate a lot of it. (H/T Geoff Mitelman)

The more plausible explanation comes from the anthropologist Marvin Harris. He argues that ecology played the dominant role, namely, that what food a culture deems disgusting is determined by the value of the animal the food comes from. In his 1974 book Cows, Pigs, War and Witches Harris observes in a chapter titled “Pig Lovers and Pig Haters” that Semites refuse to eat pork while people of highland New Guinea crave it. What explains this porcine paradox? Harris points out that North Africa and the Middle East, where Semites are from, lack vegetation including essential foods like nuts, fruits and vegetables. Pigs eat these foods as well, so domesticating them would be a burden on human nutritional needs. In contrast, vegetation in New Guinea is plentiful but protein is scarce. Pigs in New Guinea were therefore more valuable dead, cooked and eaten. All of this is consistent with the fact that kosher animals, including cattle, goats and sheep, survive off desert plants that are not valuable to humans. A similar example comes from Hinduism where slaughtering cattle is prohibited because (if Harris is correct) cattle pull plows and provide milk and manure. They are, in sum, worth more alive than dead.

Another question is how disgust and morality are related. A key piece of literature that addresses this question comes from a 2008 paper by Rozin, Jonathan Haidt and Clark McCauley. Building on previous research, they argue that communities co-opted a physical disgust for food and bodily functions into moral codes to establish rules about purity. If this is true it explains why cleanliness is a virtue in several cultures and religions including Hinduism where people are prohibited from wearing shoes when they walk on the courtyard of a temple. It also helps explain why the Abrahamic texts have so many rules concerning menstruation[4] and sex. Western secular liberals might have trouble relating, but they are also disgusted when, for example, a person’s rights or dignity is violated.

Under this paradigm our disease avoidance system “spilled over” into our moral codes. This seems like a reasonable theory. For example, there are plenty of things I find disgusting that Idon’t make a moral judgment about. In a recent Bloggingheads conversation between Paul Bloom and David Pizarro (leading researchers in the field), Pizarro points out that he finds nose picking disgusting but he does not make moral judgments about nose picking or nose pickers. Similarly, Bloom says cheekily, a poopy diaper might be gross but no one would blame the kid for pooping. Another idea is that the disgust for dangerous foods and bodily functions and the disgust for other things including people, practices and ideas are one in the same. However, a lack of evidence makes it difficult to determine which one of these theories is more plausible at this point in time.

Disgust, it should be said, is not necessarily a good guide for morality. Liberals in the United States criticize homophobic conservatives for deeming homosexual sex immoral just because they find it disgusting, implying that disgust is not a sufficient justification. But when the same liberal thinkers are pressed to explain why things like child molestation, incest or having sex with chickens are immoral they encounter the same problem: moral dumbfounding – what’s intuitively obvious is not always morally correct. Disgust, in other words, is not a reliable source for moral guidance. Leon Kass makes this point[5] in an essay he penned many years ago:

Revulsion is not an argument and some of yesterday’s repugnancies are today calmly accepted — though, one must add, not always for the better. In crucial cases, however, repugnance is the emotional expression of deep wisdom, beyond reason’s power fully to articulate it. Can anyone really give an argument fully adequate to the horror which is father-daughter incest (even with consent), or having sex with animals, or mutilating a corpse, or eating human flesh, or even just (just!) raping or murdering another human being? Would anybody’s failure to give full rational justification for his or her revulsion at these practices make that revulsion ethically suspect? Not at all. On the contrary, we are suspicious of those who think that they can rationalize away our horror, say, by trying to explain the enormity of incest with arguments only about the genetic risks of inbreeding.

A scary consequence of morality based on disgust is what happens when it is extended to out-groups. Sometimes a community will lump members of an out-group into a category and equate it with what’s physically disgusting. This is one hallmark of ethnic cleansings and it occurred during the Rwandan genocide when the Hutus equated Tutsis with “cockroaches.” To paraphrase Haidt, moral rules based on disgust bind and blind.

So what is disgust? It is a disease avoidance system put in place by natural selection to prevent us from consuming harmful food and bodily fluids. Effluvia, vomit, feces, rotten flesh, and urine are disgusting to people around the world. It can’t be a coincidence that these substances contain dangerous diseases. The question is how disgust emerges in different cultures. Harris postulates that it relates to ecology and economics. I mentioned that it’s possible that disgust evolved not just as a disease-prevention system but also as a tool to distinguish “us” from “them”. However, it seems more likely that disgust for anything that is not food or a bodily fluid is a byproduct of a disease-prevention system.

Sometimes disgust results in quirky behavior. People are disgusted by the thought of wearing the socks of a rapist or Hitler’s sweater. Other times disgust is more significant, especially when large groups of people label other groups disgusting. From the trivial to the consequential, it’s important that disgust doesn’t guide morality. I hope people are rational enough to realize this.

In the last two decades psychological science has conducted brilliant research to uncover what Darwin described nearly 150 years ago in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. A lot of credit goes to Paul Rozin, but other researchers including Bloom, Pizarro (and their colleagues Yoel Inbar and Ravi Iyer), and Haidt are providing insightful findings with clever experiments. If the next twenty years are as fruitful as the last we’ll have a much more complete picture of this nauseating corner of human psychology.

[1] From Rozin, Haidt and McCauley 2008

[3] Leviticus 11:7-8 “And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud he [is] unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch they [are] unclean to you.”

[4] Leviticus 15:19-30 “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.”


The future of mind control

A traditional deep brain stimulation electrode (top panel) provokes an immune response in the brain while a mesh electronic interface (bottom panel) does not. The size and rigidity of the DBS electrode result in chronic inflammation causing glial scarring between brain tissue and electrode, degrading the neural interface. Mesh electronics evade the immune response due to cellular and sub-cellular features and bending stiffness resembling the brain itself. Credit: Shaun Patel and Charles Lieber

Electrodes implanted in the brain help alleviate symptoms like the intrusive tremors associated with Parkinson's disease. But current probes face limitations due to their size and inflexibility. "The brain is squishy and these implants are rigid," said Shaun Patel. About four years ago, when he discovered Charles M. Lieber's ultra-flexible alternatives, he saw the future of brain-machine interfaces.

In a recent perspective titled "Precision Electronic Medicine," published in Nature Biotechnology, Patel, a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Lieber, the Joshua and Beth Friedman University Professor, argue that neurotechnology is on the cusp of a major renaissance. Throughout history, scientists have blurred discipline lines to tackle problems larger than their individual fields. The Human Genome Project, for example, convened international teams of scientists to map human genes faster than otherwise possible.

"The next frontier is really the merging of human cognition with machines," Patel said. He and Lieber see mesh electronics as the foundation for those machines, a way to design personalized electronic treatment for just about anything related to the brain.

"Everything manifests in the brain fundamentally. Everything. All your thoughts, your perceptions, any type of disease," Patel said.

Scientists can pinpoint the general areas of the brain where decision-making, learning, and emotions originate, but tracing behaviors to specific neurons is still a challenge. Right now, when the brain's complex circuitry starts to misbehave or degrade due to psychiatric illnesses like addiction or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, or even natural aging, patients have only two options for medical intervention: drugs or, when those fail, implanted electrodes.

Drugs like L-dopa can quiet the tremors that prevent someone with Parkinson's from performing simple tasks like dressing and eating. But because drugs affect more than just their target, even common L-dopa side effects can be severe, ranging from nausea to depression to abnormal heart rhythms.

When drugs no longer work, FDA-approved electrodes can provide relief through Deep Brain Stimulation. Like a pace maker, a battery pack set beneath the clavicle sends automated electrical pulses to two brain implants. Lieber said each electrode "looks like a pencil. It's big."

During implantation, Parkinson's patients are awake, so surgeons can calibrate the electrical pulses. Dial the electricity up, and the tremors calm. "Almost instantly, you can see the person regain control of their limbs," Patel said. "It blows my mind."

But, like with L-dopa, the large electrodes stimulate more than their intended targets, causing sometimes severe side effects like speech impediments. And, over time, the brain's immune system treats the stiff implants as foreign objects: Neural immune cells (glia cells) engulf the perceived invader, displacing or even killing neurons and reducing the device's ability to maintain treatment.

In contrast, Lieber's mesh electronics provoke almost no immune response. With close, long-term proximity to the same neurons, the implants can collect robust data on how individual neurons communicate over time or, in the case of neurological disorders, fail to communicate. Eventually, such technology could track how specific neural subtypes talk, too, all of which could lead to a cleaner, more precise map of the brain's communication network.

With higher resolution targets, future electrodes can act with greater precision, eliminating unwanted side effects. If that happens, Patel said, they could be tuned to treat any neurological disorder. And, unlike current electrodes, Lieber's have already demonstrated a valuable trick of their own: They encourage neural migration, potentially guiding newborn neurons to damaged areas, like pockets created by stroke.

"The potential for it is outstanding," Patel said. "In my own mind, I see this at the level of what started with the transistor or telecommunications."

The potential reaches beyond therapeutics: Adaptive electrodes could provide heightened control over prosthetic or even paralyzed limbs. In time, they could act like neural substitutes, replacing damaged circuitry to re-establish broken communication networks and recalibrate based on live feedback. "If you could actually interact in a precise and long-term way and also provide feedback information," Lieber said, "you could really communicate with the brain in the same way that the brain is communicating within itself."

A few major technology companies are also eager to champion brain-machine interfaces. Some, like Elon Musk's Neuralink, which plans to give paralyzed patients the power to work computers with their minds, are focused on assistive applications. Others have broader plans: Facebook wants people to text by imaging the words, and Brian Johnson's Kernel hopes to enhance cognitive abilities.

During his postdoctoral studies, Patel saw how just a short pulse of electricity—no more than 500 milliseconds of stimulation—could control a person's ability to make a safe or impulsive decision. After a little zap, subjects who almost always chose the risky bet, instead went with the safe option. "You would have no idea that it's happened," Patel said. "You're unaware of it. It's beyond your conscious awareness."

Such power demands intense ethical scrutiny. For people struggling to combat addiction or obsessive-compulsive disorder, an external pulse regulator could significantly improve their quality of life. But, companies that operate those regulators could access their client's most personal data—their thoughts. And, if enhanced learning and memory are for sale, who gets to buy a better brain? "One does need to be a little careful about the ethics involved if you're trying to make a superhuman," Lieber said. "Being able to help people is much more important to me at this time."

Mesh electronics still have several major challenges to overcome: scaling up the number of implanted electrodes, processing the data flood those implants deliver, and feeding that information back into the system to enable live recalibration.

"I always joke in talks that I'm doing this because my memory has gotten a little worse than it used to be," Lieber said. "That's natural aging. But does it have to be that way? What if you could correct it?" If he and Patel succeed in galvanizing researchers around mesh electronics, the question might not be if but when.


ELECTRO MAGNETIC MURDERS & SUICIDES & HOW THEY’RE DONE

by Tim Rifat BSc BEd.

From an article in The Truth Campaign Magazine Spring 99

Torture is alive and well in the UK. MI5, the UK’s secret police, regularly use Non-Lethal Weapons on any dissidents. Since MI5 have a well-documented history of hating the Labour Party, and were instrumental in bringing down the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, they naturally took to spying on, and discrediting, any group or person who did not follow their rabid right wing dogma. When Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of a right-wing Conservative Government in 1979, she soon saw the power in recruiting MI5 to be her own secret police. During the Miner’s strike in the early eighties, Arthur Scargill and his National Union of Miners nearly brought the Conservative Government down, with their year long strike. Margaret Thatcher used MI5 to spy on the miners and discredit Scargill. Leading police officers argued against the use of MI5 on the civilian population, they were ignored or replaced – if they proved too vociferous.

Margret Thatcher was the first Prime Minister for many a year to sit in on the Joint Intelligence Committee’s meetings on a regular basis. Thatcher, as a trained scientist, would have been well aware of the usefulness of microwave weapons. They are impossible to detect unless you have a detector, dissidents have no idea these weapons exist and best of all, they are totally deniable. It may be that MI5 kept this research secret from Thatcher, but the resources the UK has put into these fearsome, so-called non-lethal weapons, is extensive. UK intelligence runs a fleet of microwave weapon carrying vans, as well as portable microwave weapons that can be deployed near the dissident’s home. The vast expense can be disguised as communications equipment, for as well all know, microwave telephone communication is all the rage in our modern world. My research shows that the microwave telephone network also has the potential to be used as a major mind control weapon system to control the behaviour of the microwave phone users.

Developed under the Conservative government, which was in power from 79-97, the UK secret, or black government, has at its disposal a fearsome array of mind control weapons. These abhorrent devices are euphemistically called non-lethal weapons by the UK military. In fact they kill you slowly be causing nerve damage, cancers, mental collapse leading to suicides or tissue failure such as heart attacks due to the cooking effect of the microwaves.

Precisely modulated microwave radiation is used to influence brain function. Human behaviour and reactions can be entirely controlled by using pulse modulated microwave EM radiation. Pulse modulated microwaves are useful as the carrier for the mind control signals as they are able to pass through the skull, which is rather resistant to low level EM. The massive number of microwave antennae that dot the country, some of which are used for the microwave phone network, all use pulse modulated microwaves, which makes their use for a strategic mind control device against the civilian population in times of trouble, or rioting, crucial to modifying the behaviour of the general population. In modern democracies it is no longer viable to shot rioters, or torture dissidents by normal means, as the bad publicity is self defeating. Thus, microwave weapons have been developed by the UK’s military intelligence as they leave no marks, or gaping wounds. This pulse modulated microwave carrier beam can then be used to carry signals. These signals are extremely low frequency recordings of brain electrical potentials, which have been recorded by neuro-medical researchers such as Dr Ross Adey’s. Dr Ross Adey’s research at the Brain Research Institute of the University of California, was funded by the CIA. In their Pandora project a catalogue of different brain signals for specific actions, emotions and pathological states of mind were recorded. It was found that when microwaves were used to fire these signals at victims’ brains, they experienced the moods, behaviour, and the pathological states, carried by the signals. This meant that by mimicking natural brain frequencies, the human brain could be controlled remotely by use of extremely low frequency broadcast carried by pulse modulated microwave beams (ELF pulse modulated microwave remote mind control technology)

It is now possible to broadcast mind control commands directly into the brain by use of microwave beams. All that is needed is a catalogue of every specific brain frequency for each – mood, action and thought. These catalogues of excitation potentials are available from Russian neuro-medical research institutes, so anyone with enough cash can have the same technology at their disposal as UK military mind control groups. (the psychological enforcement arm of MI5). The Aum sect bought microwave weaponry via their 50,000 Russian converts.

Particular excitation potential, is then broadcast by pulse modulated microwave transmitter. This pulse modulated microwave beam has the ELF excitation potential frequency imprinted upon it. It was found that each behavioural set in humans has a distinctive frequency. There was one for anger, suicide, hysteria, trauma, serial killing, paranoia, lust, etc. Intelligence operatives in the UK regularly park microwave transmitters outside targets’ houses and beam specific mood inducing excitation potentials at the victims. To aid them they have sophisticated millimetre wave scanners to look through the victims walls, so they can see the targets in their homes. Pulse modulated microwaves are directed at their victims’ brains, while other people in their homes are oblivious of what is going on. A leading conspiracy researcher, who looks into the GCHQ at Cheltenham, found one of these vans with two spheres on its roof, parked in his road. He took the number plate and through contacts checked who owned it. It was an MOD van.

Hopefully he has found the microwave weapon system before it has done him too much harm.

These microwave weapons were developed allegedly at Marconi.

When firing microwave beams through walls at one target, every material in the way of the beam attenuates or modifies the intensity and frequency of the beam. Since precise frequencies and intensities are needed for mind control, very sophisticated microwave arrays and computer programmes had to be developed so that the microwave beam could be changed in response to the materials which lay between the target and the weapon, as the victim moved around his house. To do this, the reflectivity and refractivity of the materials had to be analysed in real-time and fed to a computer which could change the microwave array in concert with the changing environment between victim and weapon. There also had to be an automatic interrupter if another person walked in front of the beam. The victim needed to be driven mad or disabled, without anyone else being aware that they were being targeted. The technology for this was very complex but eventually it was perfected. Twenty-five or more scientists and military personnel associated with the Marconi project then died in mysterious circumstances. Intelligence regularly kill people to keep them quite. Maybe intelligence personnel killed the entire research team to keep such a diabolical weapon secret.

For if it were made public the scandal would bring down the government. Whatever the real story, by the mid to late eighties, all the problems had been ironed out and these new smart microwave weapons were deployed on the UK’s streets. Northern Ireland would have proved the perfect place to test them out. Pulse modulated microwave weapons had now come of age. By this method, any mood or behavioural set, can be conditioned into the target’s brain. Intelligence agents keep a log of the victim’s behaviour to see if more intense ‘treatment’ is needed and as a guide for future mind control projects.

It is alleged that by this method, UFO and conspiracy researchers, are routinely driven to commit suicide. Having the excitation potential for suicide beamed into your brain day and night by microwave mind control weapons, soon resets the brain into a cycle of depression that spirals out of control ending in suicide. Many intelligence and technical officers in the UK, who have spilled the beans, or could be a potential leak, are driven to commit suicide by the special mind control teams run by MI5. If you look at the long list of UK military and intelligence experts who inexplicably commit suicide, one can see an underlying mind control logic that drives them to kill themselves. Behavioural reinforcement is used in a synergistic way with the mind control. It was found that the effect of the microwave beams could be greatly enhanced by external reinforcement. Intelligence community personnel destroy the target’s property, ruin their financial affairs spread vicious rumour, make sexual peccadilloes public knowledge – such as wearing women’s underwear, while checking oneself – with an orange in one’s mouth. External reinforcement of pulse modulated microwave mind control technology was found to be very effective.

Intelligence chiefs are now in seventh heaven, if some one becomes a problem they get the ‘suicide mind control team’ parked outside their house. Within weeks, the victim kills himself. This is very phasing to the intelligence mandarins, as suicides are easy to explain away – even if the victim was a highly placed politician or military man. If the military intelligence agency does not wish you to commit suicide, they can drive you mad. This is done by beaming the excitation potential of a particular pathological mental state at your brain while you are at home. To aid in this, the intelligence operatives can place sounds and speech in the target victim’s brain. This inter-cerebral hearing is used to drive the victim mad, as no one else can hear the voices transmitted into the brain of the target. Transmission of auditory data directly into the targets’ brains using microwave carrier beams is now common practise. Instead of using excitation potentials, one uses a transducer to modify the spoken word into ELF audiograms, that are then superimposed on the pulse modulated microwave beam.

Discrediting well known people who are causing problems for the shadowy elite, by driving them mad, seems to be standard operating procedure for the intelligence community. Victims are subject to pulse modulated microwaves which carry different types of madness and behavioural abbreviations, encoded as ELF excitation potentials. This makes the troublesome high profile person, display manic or insane behaviour that discredits them. Examples of this technique are allegedly: David Icke, Fergie, Princess Diana…

Outside environmental reinforcement, by use of media agents in league with MI5, makes it assured that the high profile person’s mind controlled madness, will be put in the worst possible light to discredit them. In this way, high profile subversives who cannot be imprisoned, (unlike the Carl Bridgewater, Birmingham Six, Guildford FourÖ) in the normal way by Britain’s police, or killed by assassination squads, such as the Pegasus group, are made to look ridiculous.

Public humiliation is the finest weapon the authorities have to make harmless a potential well known figure, who is making trouble.

If the VIP needs to be made temporarily ill, microwave beams containing the signal the brain gives off during a vicious bout of flu can be fired at the victim. This causes the target to display all the symptoms of flu, even though they have not caught the virus. Major Ed Dames the remote viewing specialist, who has close links with the US secret military, alluded to this device on a US TV programme.

The intelligence agents can also use low level microwaves to cause mental and physical confusion that leads to illness. Beaming microwaves at victims makes them fatigued, damages their immune system, causes neurological damage that effects their thinking and ability to carry out tasks, induces premature ageing, cancer and cataracts. Sussex police regularly use this low level microwave to clear drunks from city centres. While researching this matter , I was subject to high levels of microwave >|Omw/cm2 whenever I approached their headquarters, whilst MI5 irradiated my home continually with microwaves. It seem I touch a raw nerve while researching mind control weapons usage in the UK.

Organisations that irritate the authorities have their building turned into a hot spot by microwave transmitters, so the staff all suffer sick building syndrome caused by microwave damage. Or the staff of the target organisation have their behaviour changed to cause discord. UFO Reality a leading UFO and conspiracy magazine have complained of mysterious health problems, while another new age group complained of eye damage, nausea and headaches brought on when ever they had a meeting, which may have been caused by microwaves. Heating the victim to death by microwave cooking is caused by increasing the field intensity of the radiation, to cause local hotspots in the victims eyes and gaul bladder, which have poor circulation, so cannot carry away the heat. Irradiating the optic nerve of the victim with the same signal that is sent to the brain by this nerve, causes the nerve tissue to overload. This way, subversives can be blinded by the intelligence community without them knowing what has occurred. An American researcher complained of this problem to me and warned me that this weapon system was being used on my person by MI5.

Neurological research found the brain to have specific frequencies for each voluntary movement called preparatory sets. By firing at your chest with a microwave beam containing the ELF signals given off by the heart, this organ can be put into a chaotic state, the so-called heart attack. In this way, high profile leaders of political parties who are prone to heart attacks can be killed off before they cause any trouble.

Neil Kinnocks’ Labour Government was allegedly cheated out of an election victory by postal vote rigging in twenty key marginal seats. When a new even more electable Labour leader was found, it is rumoured that John Smith, the then Labour leader, was prompted to have a fatal heart attack, while walking in the country with his family, by means of a concealed microwave device which operated on the Vagus nerve to bring about a massive heart attack. Since MI5 have a long history of naked hatred towards the Labour party, there may be some truth in the above, though no hard evidence had yet been found.

Paralysis can be induced in the target by use of this method of broadcasting preparatory sets encoded on microwave beams. A pulse modulated microwave beam, carrying an ELF signal, which is identical to the one in the motor neurone centre of the brain, is used to jam the victims motor co-ordination. This is analogous to radar jamming, using a more powerful signal at the same frequency to swamp out the enemies radar. Motor neurone preparatory set potentials are jammed by a bigger signal carried by a microwave carrier beam, that literally overloads the brain, so it cannot control the body. Pulse modulated microwave weapons which broadcast the ELF preparatory sets of the motor cortext of the victim, will paralyse the victim without killing them. Breathing and heartbeat are involuntary actions controlled by another set of frequencies in another part of the brain This technique can be used to abduct people for secret government mind control experiments, under the guise of alien abduction. A microwave beam of this nature will paralyse the victim, so they can be bundled into a black helicopter and airlifted away for experimentation.

Once the procedure is complete, hypnosis can be used to plant false memories of alien abduction . In this way, real alien abductions can be used by the authorities to enable them to obtain a limitless supply of guinea pigs for their mind control experiments. Real memories of government involvement are erased electronically. This technique clears all short-term memories from the victims consciousness by broadcasting microwave beams at the target which carry the signals used for memory retention. When you remember something, it is first stored in your short-term memory. After approximately twelve hours, this short-term memory is converted in the brain to long term memory, after which you remember this information for the rest of your life. If this conversion from short-term memory to long term memory does not occur, the data is lost. We see details around us, but try to recall the dÈcor in a restaurant you eat at some weeks ago and you’ll see how tenuous memory is.

Microwave radiation of a specific frequency can interfere with the transfer of memories from short to long term memory. Microwave radiation of a specific frequency can interfere with the synapses of the brain. By interfering with the connections between brain cells, memory of people can by disrupted. In this way, Seal special force assassins can be brain-wiped after a mission, so they have no idea of the target they killed. Using hypnosis, false memories can then be planted in the brain, so the gap left by the real memory is papered over.

The latest advance in electronic mind control were discussed in my previous articles in Nexus, but for those who missed the ESP of Espionage, this equipment uses special types of microwave beams called MASERs. These are the laser equivalent of microwave beams.

These MASER beams have been used to develop something called synthetic telepathy. This is the ability to read people’s minds from a distance. Electronic scanning af victims’ brains by monitoring the electromagnetic (EM) emissions from peoples brains and using amongst other things, the brain waves (as measured on an EEG), to read the victim’s subvocalised thoughts.

Head of US Special Forces Major-General Schaknow, talked about synthetic telepathy during a lecture in July 1992 at Fort Bragg North Carolina. The US military is hard at work perfecting synthetic telepathy. In synthetic telepathy, the weak electromagnetic signals in the brain associated with subvocalised thought, are connected to a computer by use of electrodes, or in more advanced mechanisms by MASER beams. Sophisticated computer systems have learnt to read the subvocalised thoughts in the brain, by associating a specific brain exciting potential, with a particular word. In this case, only one specific language can be decoded, as each word in a language has a specific set of frequencies that must be discovered. Once the donkey work of finding the specific frequencies for all the words in a language has been programmed into a super computer, which can carry out massive parallel processing, fuzzy logic software is used to match this with real world excitation potential associated with subvocalised thought obtained from thousands of abductees, who are used to calibrate the synthetic telepathy devices.

GCHQ Cheltenham, the intelligence gathering arm of MI5, possess the advanced computer systems needed for synthetic telepathy. Synthetic telepathy detects the I5Hz, 5 milliwatt auditory cortex brain emissions, that are linked with the excitation potentials in the brain associated with subvocalised thought. New technology, involving low frequency microwaves and RF, has enabled devices to be built which can scan through walls and look inside peoples’ bodies like X-rays. This enables security personnel to see a target in his own home and to track him throughout the house. Further to this, being able to see inside the victim’s head, would allow computer controlled targeting of specific brain centres in the victim’s brain, even when he was walking around the house. A scan of the specific brain emissions given off when the victim subvocalises using an array AF pulsed frequency MASERs fired at the specific brain centres of the subversive, while he resides in his own home, enables the victim to be scanned. By finding an array of ELF pulse modulated MASERs, which scan up and down the window of frequency emissions given off by subvocalised thought, interference effects can be measured in the MASER beam. The victim’s ELF brain emissions will interact constructively or destructively with the pulse frequency MASER carrying ELF in the ELF window associated with subvocalised thoughts.

If we fire an array of pulsed MASERs, which are out of phase with each other, extraneous noise can be filtered out in the digital domain. Since the converging ELF modulated MASERs are being effected by the low level emissions in the victim’s brain, the shifts in the ELF pulsed signal going into the subversive’s brain can be detected.

A simplistic version of this would be the LASER beam shone at the window of the person that is being bugged. The vibrations in the window cause modulations in the LASER that can be converted into electrical signals and hence into sound. In this way the subvocalised thoughts in the victim’s brain can be read. Having already built up a library of excitation potential signatures for differing words and groupings of words, a sophisticated computer can begin to decode the emission signatures into word streams. In this way the subvocalised thoughts of the victim can be stored in the memory of a supercomputer and analysed to give a read out of what the target is thinking.

Using ELF audiograms carried by a single pulse-modulated Maser, subvocalised thoughts can be placed in the victim’s brain. This enables UK synthetic telepathy operators the ability to enter into conversations with the subversive to drive him mad or to bring up key words which will get the victim thinking about the information they wish to find. Visual cortex excitation potentials can also be broadcast into the victim’s brain so that illusory images can be projected into their brain to drive them mad, or to programme them to commit suicide.

My research has led me to uncover a truly nation-wide mind control weapon system. Each UK police station is equipped with a vast array of microwave antennae. The Sussex Police headquarters has a two hundred foot antenna. The building is surrounded by a fence and is off limits to the public. This microwave complex sits in the middle of a council housing estate, which means the people in this area are being bathed in low level microwaves. New research has shown that low level microwaves give mice cancer, since the emitters tested by the scientists, were the new ultra safe mobile phones which give of much smaller intensities than the police antennae, the Police microwave system is a serious health hazard. It seems that low level microwave radiation excites the hydrogen bonds in the cell and can interfere with meiosis. This causes cell division to go wrong, which leads to cancerous cells and hence tumours.

Secondly, the police have been granted the exclusive use of the 450 MHz microwave frequency range. This is exactly the frequency used by Dr Ross Adey, the CIA mind control expert, in his experiments on behavioural modification. It seems the police have the exclusive use of this mind control frequency and a vast array of antennae to broadcast this frequency all over the country.

Very useful for mass mind control in times of emergency. Adey found that by using 0.75mW/cm2 intensity of pulse modulate microwave at a frequency of 450 MHz, it was discovered that an ELF modulation could be used to control all aspects of human behaviour.

The Sussex police headquarters is connected to CCTV, close circuit television cameras, throughout the town. Some of these cameras have microwave telemetry devices that could easily be used the broadcast this frequency. The large antenna, that bracket the town could also be used.

The most insidious aspect of this, is that the entire mobile phone network could easily be used to control the behaviour of the phone users. By use of my microwave detector, have found that mobile phones of the newer type, give off a pulse modulated microwave signal of around 0.75m W/cm2 at the ear piece.

This may be coincidence, but it is exactly the intensity required for behavioural control as found by Dr Ross Adey, the pioneer of microwave mind control.

So in theory, an ELF signal could be added to the microwave network to feed a precise behavioural pattern into every mobile phone user in the UK. If their were widespread riots, the ability to broadcast behavioural stimuli to mollify all the mobile phone users in the country would prove useful.

Since mobile phone users are generally middle class, it means authority has a useful method of controlling the behaviour of the key voters. Microwave carrier beams are perfect for transmitting the excitation potential of docility to the phone user to keep them servile in times of trouble. When no ELF signal is broadcast the phone acts in a completely different manner on behaviour in humans. In this case the microwave phones causes the neurones to release calcium ions which makes the user tired, irritable and when stressed likely to emotional outbursts such as road rage.

In Brighton, the local Ml5 headquarters has a large microwave array on its roof. Secret bunkers in the area also have large microwave arrays above them. It is child’s play to transmit an ELF modulated signal to be broadcast by the entire mobile phone network – if need be. By this means, all mobile phone users can be behaviourally modified, at the cost of developing cancer from low level microwave exposure from the phones they constantly use, stressing the neural network by constant calcium ion efflux and interference with bioelectric fields.

It seems strange that a few millicuries of ionising radiation will get the National Radiological Protection Board exceed, whilst high intensity cancer-inducing non-ionising microwave radiation, goes unchecked. So high are levels near transmitters, that litter the countryside, that light bulbs will explode near them. If the intelligence community is using microwaves on a large scale as mass mind control weapons, then the NRPB’s silence is easily explainable.

To add to this, the numerous microwave detectors that were cheaply available to check leakage from microwave ovens are no longer made by any company in the country. It seems the UK authorities do not want the population to be able to detect when they are being microwaved. In conclusion, it can be seen that the UK intelligence and police, have a dizzy array of high-tech mind control devices. They regularly target their own populations and thousands of people are made ill by microwave weapons. With the advent of synthetic telepathy, ‘CCTV of the mind’ becomes a reality.

With the election of a New Labour government unaware of microwave weapons and untainted, as they had no part in their development and deployment. it is certain that Tony Blair’s government will outlaw these abhorrent microwave weapons – as they have done land mines. The only problem will be convincing the Labour government that MI5’s microwave communication equipment is in fact microwave mind control weaponry.

With the total secrecy the MI5 organisation operates under, one can be sure they will be mendacious as to how their £200 million pound budget is used to hone their leading edge microwave mind control torture weapons that are used on the public. Even more disturbing is the use of EMP and microwave weapons by the police on anyone researching into this area. With over £1 billion of tax payers money going to the intelligence community in Britain, it is a certainty that Britain will continue to be the centre of Soviet style psychotronic torture and mind control equipment well into the 21st century.

REFERENCES ELECTRONIC MIND CONTROL

[ 1 ] Non lethality. John B Alexander, the Pentagon’s Penguin, by Armen Victorian, Lobster June 1993. This is an excellent article on the US black governments ‘hard-man’ of the mind control world – recommended for those who really would like to know how these people think and work

UF0 Reality No 1-3, Jon King, Mind Control.

Mind Control and UFO’s, by Alex Constantine , Feb. 1996.

[3] Enigma Vol. 2, It’s All In The Mind, T Rifat.

[4] Ross W Adey. Neurophysiologic Effects of Radio frequency and Microwave Radiation, Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine Vol.55 No 1 1, DEC 1979 The influences of impressed Electrical Fields at EEG Frequencies on Brain and Behaviour in Behaviour and Brain Electrical Activity, Burch, N and Altshuler, H.l., eds, Plenum press, 1975.

Effects of Modulated Very High Frequency Fields on Specific Brain Rhythms in Cats, Brain Research, Vol. 58, 1973

Spectral Analysis of Low Frequency Components in the Electrical of the Hippocampus During learning, Electroencephalography and clinical Neurophysiology, Vol. 23, 1967

Dr Ross Adey, formally of the Brain Research centre at the University of Southern Califomia, Los Angeles, now at Loma Linda University . Medical School, Loma Linda, Califomia.

He worked on the CIA Pandora Project and was concerned with inducing specific behavioural modification by electromagnetic means well as induction of calcium efflux events to interfere with brain function – the so called ‘confusion weaponary’.

C.S. Blackman is a researcher who worked in the US on theoretical research that underlies the electronic RMCT devices now deployed world-wide.

Electronics World and Wireless World : The healing face of electromagnetic fields 1993

[5]. Martin Cannon, The Controllers.
[6]. Secret and Suppressed, Jim Keith.
[7]. Psychic Dictatorship in the USA, Alex Constantine.

[8]. Encounters, Vol. 7, Psi Spies, Marie-Louise Small. Cosmic Top Secret: America’s Secret UFO Program,1992 William Hamilton III.
[9] Encounters, Vol. 10, Room with a Remote View, by Richard Forsyth. This is an article about the author.
http:www.fastnet.co.uk/pms Paranormal Management Systems’ web site. For an information pack on RV/RI, send £3 plus a SAE to PMS, PO Box 2749, Brighton, BN2 2DR, UK. Correspondence and normal courses are available, phone 01273 690424 to book for courses. We also offer consultancy on mind control problems.

Nexus Vol. 3 No 6, Remote Viewing The ESP of Espionage, by T Rifat.

Nexus VoL 4 No 2, The Esp of Espionage, by T Rifat. These three articles cover the theory of RV, RI and ESP in very great detail. Recommended for the serious RV/RI student. For more information contact the author.

Alien Encounters No 11 Alien and Government Mind control, T Rifat. Sightings Nol2, Losing Your Mind Control Technology, by T Rifat.

UFO Reality No 8, Mind Control, Big Brother is All In The Mind, T Rifat.

Enigma 6, Mind Control, by T Rifat.

Fortean Times 95, Police State of’ Mind, by David Guyatt. US Synthetic Telepathy info supplied by David Guyatt. Guyatt, David. “Some Aspects of Antipersonnel Elctromagnetic Weapons (paper prepared for ICRC Symposium for the medical profession.


Watch the video: MITs mind reading wearable lets you silently interact with all your devices (May 2022).