I'm not at all sure how I feel about this story... (still working out the ethical hiccups).
Scientists have managed to wire the brains of rats with implants, allowing the rodents to "communicate" and problem solve electronically, despite being on different continents.
The Guardian reports that Miguel Nicilelis, a pioneer in the field of robotic prosthetics controlled by the mind, has managed to prove that rats with brain implants were able to pass along problem solving techniques to one another while wired together over the internet. He had this to say about the experiment:
"Basically, we are creating an organic computer."
The question of whether such technology could be used to "connect" human brains is one of the first to pop up, followed by a slew of ethical concerns about the necessity of such experimentation.
But putting aside the PETA-type concerns associated with animal testing, can we be far off from the day when a brain implant could be used to pass along information from one human mind to another? And if that is possible, will it always be used for good?
After all, why waterboard a detained suspect when you can just implant a device into his brain and read his thoughts? Will we soon be able to perform this function without surgery by use of external mind-scanners? Are there Constitutional concerns involving involuntary search and seizures involved if we're talking about searching human minds and seizing information?
I'll go out on a limb and volunteer Dick Cheney's brain for future experimentation. I'd really like to know if there's even the slightest hint of remorse locked away somewhere in Darth Cheney's psyche...
And you just know if there's a way to pass along mental memory and cognitive recognition, someone will wire themselves to a computer, download the contents of their mind, and attempt to install that "memory" into a machine or robot in some far-fetched attempt at immortality.
Again, the image of Dick Cheney springs to mind.