A new brain implant is being developed to increase memory but do humans really need it?
Technology has advanced at a pace where it has impacted and influenced the physiology of our bodies in several ways. How would it appeal to you if you had a chip implanted in your brain to increase memory and intelligence? Would this herald the true age of artificial intelligence helping us to lead our lives for better or for worse. On the other side of the coin is the argument that such steps of improving your cognitive abilities can easily be derived through a healthy lifestyle.
In 1988 computer experts Andy Clark and David Chalmers made a sudden claim that computers can be used with the human brains to increase the power of the mind. This would also improve the brains processing ability and solve problems easily. It would also increase memory capacity for images and information.
1 An artificial hippocampus as a chip implanted in your brain
To take the concept one step further a professor of biomedical engineering at University of Southern California, Theodore Berger is currently working on a prosthetic device that can be implanted in the human brain which can enhance human memory. Berger has been working on such a device for 10 years stating that the device can be used as an artificial hippocampus, the area in the human brain responsible for memory and spatial navigation.
Berger hopes that the device will be able to turn short term memory into long term ones which can be stored in the same way as the hippocampus. Berger’s associate Bryan Johnson says that the prosthetic device would help restore memory function in conditions of memory loss.
2 Successful research now in human trial phase
Berger began his path breaking research through studies on a Rabbit’s hippocampus. Creating an artificial hippocampus for a rat and conducted memory related experiments on rats which proved a success. The device is now in the phase of human testing which if proved successful will then be available commercially.
Berger is aiming his device at humans with severe memory loss where the minute device will be implanted into the hippocampus. It would then stimulate neurons that convert short term memory into long term memories. The device may well benefit Alzheimer patients and those suffering from dementia, stroke and brain injuries.
3 What does this mean for the human race?
On one hands implants move humans away from the physical realm of their bodies which would then tend to be mechanized in future. The concept of our physical bodies being challenged because of unhealthy lifestyles would lose all importance. The need for becoming healthier would cease to exist when humans realize there are ways and means to enhance physiology through machines. There is no guarantee that the device will end up only in the hands of those suffering from cognitive problems.
There is also the possibility of a scenario where healthy natural cognitive function would not be used for solving problems, doing homework or working. Man should endeavor to enhance his faculties through natural means rather than scientific evolution. However when it concerns disease, then a chip implanted in your brain could be the next best thing.