Brain Chips Could Allow Companies To Harvest Our Memories Warns Expert
Experts have warned that technological advancements made through the development and rollout of brain chips could allow companies to harvest our thoughts and memories.
It’s no secret that a lot of our data is already under the control of ‘the cloud’, with the memories we hold through photos and videos often sent straight there for what we assume to be safekeeping, but that could soon extend out to everything going on in our brains.
Brain chips, such as those from Elon Musk’s company Neuralink, have been presented as technologies that could help people suffering with mobility issues, though they can also be used to merge humans with computers and artificial intelligence.
Dr. Susan Schneider, the founding director of the new Center for the Future Mind, has noted that humans could be taken down a risky path if developers start to lean towards the latter usage.
She told MailOnline: ‘If the widespread use becomes hooking us to the cloud, not as therapies, and merge humans with AI the economic model will be to sell our data. Our inner most thoughts would be sold to the highest bidder. Also, do we need subscription that we pay for? What if for powers get ahold of our thoughts?’
Schneider went on to question the cost of maintaining brain chips, asking what would happen if users were to, for example, upload thoughts such as memories of their children’s early years.
She questioned: ‘What if I have to pay and I can’t? It becomes quite challenging with how we keep our thoughts private and ownership of our own thoughts.’
Anna Wexler, assistant professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, honed in on Neuralink specifically as she noted the company has ‘not been clear’ about the goals for the chip, saying: ‘All we can go on is Musk’s Tweets, and the live demos and blog posts that the company has released.’
Meanwhile, Schneider made reference to Facebook’s plans to take advantage of brain chips, drawing on CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans for a wearable device that can read people’s thoughts and translate brain signals into useful information for machines.
She commented: ‘I can image Facebook harvesting our inner most thoughts to get people addicted to their platform. It is all about what is about going on in the head and marketing what is going on in the head.’
Though the development of brain chips is still in the early stages, Musk has expressed belief that later versions of the technology could be used to help paraplegic people walk again.
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