Human-Computer Symbiosis

Sep 30, 2021Philosophy/Ethics, Tech0 comments

The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today

Licklider 1960

Manuel and Sandra are talking about the following article:
Do Brain Implants Change Your Identity?

In this post :

    1. Foto di Darlene Alderson da Pexels
    2. Foto di Kevin Ku da Pexels

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Sandra

There are various means and goals when measuring and stimulating the brain, it’s not easy to say stuff in general about this.

Today 11:39  

Sandra

It’s not like you install a USB hub in the brain and then hook up your laptop

Today 11:39  

Manuel

No, I get that, sure. And it seems to be ethically controversial too 😅

Today 11:39  

Sandra

Absolutely! Even before staring human trials for a new device, we need to think things through.

Today 11:40  

Manuel

What are some of the questions that come up?

Today 11:41   

Sandra

For more general research: what could it be used for? And how could it be abused?

Today 11:42   

Sandra

For specific devices: what happens if it does or doesn’t work? And how will people react to their implant?

Today 11:42   

Manuel

Could you elaborate on that last one?

Today 11:43   

Sandra

Sure. It is always a risk that people reject the implant, in the sense that it feels weird to them

Today 11:44   

Sandra

Having a computer “control” what you do feels creepy, even if it allows you to walk or talk again.

Today 11:44   

Manuel

I think I understand: the implanted device feels alien, and it’s not like a walking stick you can leave behind

Today 11:46  

Sandra

Nope: it is part of you now, more like the hip replacement that you cannot take out.

Today 11:47   

Sandra

So we need to educate and guide people in understanding the procedure and functionality

Today 11:47   

Manuel

But still: if it helps you live a more normal life, why would there be a problem. 🤔

Today 11:48  

Sandra

Well, Deep Brain Stimulation was developed as treatment for Parkinson’s at first

Today 11:49   

Manuel

It reduces the tremors?

Today 11:50   

Sandra

Yes, but it is also being used for mental health issues, like depression or OCD.

Today 11:50   

Sandra

People feel that it interferes with their autonomy: who am I anymore?

Today 11:51   

Manuel

I see, the risk is that it takes away agency and decision making form the patient.

Today 11:51   

Sandra

Exactly, but it gets worse!                                                               

Today 11:52   

… Continue to read the conversation between Manuel and Sandra  on Saturday 9th October…

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