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Brain-Computer Interfaces Could Change The World—But At What Cost?

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A brain-computer interface rig.

While ethicists have pressed for more ethical inquiry into neural modification in general, many practical questions around brain-computer interfaces have not been fully considered.

Credit: Nicola Tree/Getty Images

Imagine that a soldier has a tiny computer device injected into their bloodstream that can be guided with a magnet to specific regions of their brain. With training, the soldier could then control weapon systems thousands of miles away using their thoughts alone. Embedding a similar type of computer in a soldier's brain could suppress their fear and anxiety, allowing them to carry out combat missions more efficiently. Going one step further, a device equipped with an artificial intelligence system could directly control a soldier's behavior by predicting what options they would choose in their current situation.

While these examples may sound like science fiction, the science to develop neurotechnologies like these is already in development. Brain-computer interfaces, or BCI, are technologies that decode and transmit brain signals to an external device to carry out a desired action. Basically, a user would only need to think about what they want to do, and a computer would do it for them.

From Fast Company
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