Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Future of Computing

I've always been a bit of a technophile, so naturally this article appealed to me:

Wired: Mind Control

For those of you on a schedule I'll just say that it relates to brain implants and the ability to control computers, and hence motors, gears, and a wide variety of mechanical objects, simply by thought. Personally I've always felt that this would be the ultimate end of the computer revolution, a meshing of carbon and silicon based processors (read: brains and microchips). The ethical and philosophical implications are staggering, not to mention what kinds of "hacking" might occur in a world where our very minds are remotely accesible, but for the time being this technology is in its infantile stages. What really irritates me is the political implications.

I should preface this by saying that I am very near the "innovation at any cost" camp in this matter, but still what frustrates me is the way that government feels it always has a part to play in this. As the article mentions, funding for this particular project was acquired through the Defense Department (an organization notorious for science-fiction schemes, some of which I must say are quite successful, i.e. nuclear weapons, while others not so, i.e. bat-bombs). I really have no major problem with this aspect, but I do have one with the FDA regulating an operation occuring between two consenting parties. Leaving aside the fact that the FDA is the Food and Drug Administration, I fear that their meddling will ultimately set back quite significantly a technology that promises to reverse paralyzation without the methodical issues raised by such things as stem-cell research.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocation absolute expulsion of government from this process, but I'm saddened to think of all the life-saving technologies like this held back years or decades because bureacrats in Washington try to control them or just impede a public release.

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