Posts Tagged ‘Brain’

Ignorance Is Futile Exclusive:

Nanotechnology poses inherent threats greater than anything we’ve ever faced. This heavily modified Hollywood film shows what such a takeover by tyrants via nanobots could look like.

Currently billions of dollars per year are dumped into nano research by governments and corporations worldwide.

Nanobots that can penetrate past the blood-brain barrier to attach to neurons for mind control are like nothing we’ve ever faced. These could be released into the drinking water supply or administered via vaccine shots.

Even Ray Kurzweil realizes this threat. From a repost from his site:

Another class of terrorist-selective defenses could be keyed to the intentions, rather than to the actions, of potential actors. Future medical nanotechnology should enable intrusive involuntary brain scans of sufficient fidelity to accurately measure and report internal psychological states and motives. But here too there are several difficulties. First, all human beings on Earth would have to be continuously monitored for “terrorist” intentions. This monitoring duty would probably fall to some government (or related institutional) entity, and a corrupt government entity could not be prevented from scanning for “freedom fighter” intentions as well. Such scanning would elevate Brin’s “transparent society” to a new level to intrusiveness—we might call it the “transparent mind”—which would be even more anathematic to civil libertarians and would offer even greater potential for abuse. Second, the amount of data to be processed might be so enormous as to require the intervention of an AI (as in the previous example) to sort it all out, whether the AI was a stand-alone system or embedded in a human/machine hybrid system. Third, it is but a small step from passively monitoring brain states to actively controlling those brain states using nanotechnology-based neural nanorobotics, which would enable the push-button disposal of critics by tyrants. Thus, the freedom fighters would again be disabled along with the terrorists.

It appears quite likely, though perhaps not inevitable, that eventually, somewhere in the world, a tyrant will emerge who is equipped with some of the most sophisticated nanotechnological instrumentalities available. This tyrant would likely employ these advanced technical means to eliminate within his own borders any possibility of freedom fighting or terrorism, both of which he might rationally presume could be directed at him or his vassals. Other technically sophisticated societies might or might not have the will or the means to oppose this tyrant, and still other societies might decide to emulate or join him; therefore, his emergence and ascendancy cannot be ruled out.

Recognizing that global tyranny is a logical end-state of the unchecked spread of nanotechnology-enabled dictatorships that are capable of employing perfect mind  control, those who subscribe to the policy doctrine of preemption might rationally conclude that it is necessary to actively liberate other societies that have already decided to capitulate (“entrust their future”?) to a nanotechnology-enabled autocrat. But might not budding tyrants rationally conclude that any developed nation population that treasures individual freedom above most other moral values should be exterminated preemptively in order to eliminate the most obvious threat to their global ambitions? Consider that humanity may have survived the Cold War because at key moments of crisis, both sides opted for survival over domination. In future conflicts, if either side is significantly less dedicated to survival than to domination, then, like a terrorist, that side will not be deterred from seeking domination at all costs.

Could mere discussion of these issues create a self-fulfilling prophecy? It is true that if potential future tyrants come to believe that people in general are unlikely to have the desire or will to resist them, or that people will be so effectively disarmed of personal weaponry by their well-meaning but overprotective governments that individual armed resistance would become futile, then deterrence of nanotechnology-enabled tyrannies is minimized and the emergence of those regimes may be accelerated. But this should affect only the timing, and not the ultimate fact, of such emergence. If the technology allows it—and it does—then eventually some tyrant will seek to close his iron fist around the throat of humankind. We need to decide what, if anything, we ought to do about this.

His “solution” is for us to deliberately inject ourselves with “defensive” nanobots, which only creates entire new sets of problems.

Of course, there will be great concern regarding who’s controlling the nanobots, and over who the nanobots may be talking to. Organizations such as governments or extremist groups or just clever individuals could put trillions of undetectable nanobots in the water or food supply. These “spy” nanobots could then monitor, influence, and even control our thoughts and actions. We won’t be defenseless, however. Just as we have virus scanning software today, we will make use of patrol nanobots that search for (and destroy) unauthorized nanobots in our brains and bodies.

Congress has acknowledged this issue:

Every exponential curve eventually reaches a point where the growth rate becomes almost infinite. This point is often called the Singularity. If technology continues to advance at exponential rates, what happens after 2020? Technology is likely to continue, but at this stage some observers forecast a period at which scientific advances aggressively assume their own momentum and accelerate at unprecedented levels, enabling products that today seem like science fiction. Beyond the Singularity, human society is incomparably different from what it is today. Several assumptions seem to drive predictions of a Singularity. The first is that continued material demands and competitive pressures will continue to drive technology forward. Second, at some point artificial intelligence advances to a point where computers enhance and accelerate scientific discovery and technological change. In other words, intelligent machines start to produce discoveries that are too complex for humans. Finally, there is an assumption that solutions to most of today’s problems including material scarcity, human health, and environmental degradation can be solved by technology, if not by us, then by the computers we eventually develop.


The NNI is clearly geared toward developing the technology on a broad front, correctly seeing it as the source of tremendous benefits to society. Its mission is not to see whether we should go forward with research and development. It is to go forth boldly, while trying to discover and deal with possible risks.

Another governmental document, “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance” sheds more light on this:

But it is important to note that there is a melding of human and S&E development here: human development, from individual medical and intellectual development to collective cultures and globalization, is a key goal.
…Four transforming tools have emerged: nanotechnology for hardware, biotechnology for dealing with living systems, information technology for communication and control, and cognition-based technologies to enhance human abilities and collective behavior.
…Far from unnatural, such a collective social system may be compared to a larger form of a biological organism. Biological organisms themselves make use of many structures such as bones and circulatory system. The networked society enabled through NBIC convergence could explore new pathways in societal structures, in an increasingly complex system (Bar-Yam 1997).”

Here’s the real wowzer:

Hive Mind
If we can easily exchange large chunks of knowledge and are connected by high-bandwidth communication paths, the function an d purpose served by individuals becomes unclear. Individuals have served to keep the gene pool stirred up and healthy via s exual reproduction, but this data-handling process would no longer necessarily be linked to individuals. With knowledge no longer encapsulated in individuals, the distinction between individuals and the entirety of humanity would blur. Think Vulcan mind-meld. We would perhaps become more of a hive mind —an enormous, single, intelligent entity.

Yes, that’s from an actual government document.

This is also interesting:

Doug Dorst, a microbiologist and vaccine critic in South Wales, says these advances have an immense appeal to vaccine makers. “Biotech companies and their researchers have quickly moved most funding initiatives towards nanotechnology to increase the potency of their vaccines,” he said. If microorganisms inside of vaccines can be coaxed into targeting or invading specific cells, they could achieve their goal at an accelerated rate over conventional vaccines. “Depending on which side of the vaccine debate you’re on, whether pro or con, nanobots inside vaccine preparations could advance their effectiveness exponentially by either dramatically improving or destroying immunity depending on their design,” he added.Dorst claims that present day nanobot technology could just as easily be used to advance biological weapons as they can to advance human health. “For every fear that biotech propaganda proliferates about deadly diseases and how vaccines prevent them, it is one more lie to incrementally convince the masses that vaccines are effective.”

The worry for Dorst is that one day vaccines “will do what they’ve always been intended for…control of the global populace.”

Here goes some various nanotech advances:

New sensors built using nanotechnology could read and write information directly into the brain.

A Battery-Free Implantable Neural Sensor
A tiny radio chip implanted in a moth harvests power and senses neural activity.If the promise of nanotechnology is to be fulfilled, nanoparticles will have to be able to make something of themselves. An important advance towards this goal has been achieved by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) who have found a simple and yet powerfully robust way to induce nanoparticles to assemble themselves into complex arrays.

Brain implants that can more clearly record signals from surrounding neurons in rats have been created at the University of Michigan.

Team develops DNA switch to interface living organisms with computers.

Enzyme computer could live inside you.

DNA-wrapped carbon nanotubes serve as sensors in living cells.

There’s also the health threats of  nanoparticles themselves:

And on that note here goes a cool video made by my friends over at Transalchemy:

New Scientist:

WHEN we fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. That’s the finding of a study which looked at people’s response to prayers spoken by someone purportedly possessing divine healing powers.

To identify the brain processes underlying the influence of charismatic individuals, Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues turned to Pentecostal Christians, who believe that some people have divinely inspired powers of healing, wisdom and prophecy.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Schjødt and his colleagues scanned the brains of 20 Pentecostalists and 20 non-believers while playing them recorded prayers. The volunteers were told that six of the prayers were read by a non-Christian, six by an ordinary Christian and six by a healer. In fact, all were read by ordinary Christians.

Only in the devout volunteers did the brain activity monitored by the researchers change in response to the prayers. Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian (Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsq023).

Schjødt says that this explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness.

It’s not clear whether the results extend beyond religious leaders, but Schjødt speculates that brain regions may be deactivated in a similar way in response to doctors, parents and politicians.

WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – Brain scans may be able to predict what you will do better than you can yourself, and might offer a powerful tool for advertisers or health officials seeking to motivate consumers, researchers said on Tuesday. …

“On day one of the experiment, before the scanning session, each participant indicated their sunscreen use over the prior week, their intentions to use sunscreen in the next week and their attitudes toward sunscreen,” the researchers wrote.

After they saw the messages, the volunteers answered more questions about their intentions, and then got a goody bag that contained, among other things, sunscreen towelettes.”

“A week later we did a surprise follow up to find out whether they had used sunscreen,” Falk said in a telephone interview.

About half the volunteers had correctly predicted whether they would use sunscreen. The research team analyzed and re-analyzed the MRI scans to see if they could find any brain activity that would do better.

Activity in one area of the brain, a particular part of the medial prefrontal cortex, provided the best information.

“From this region of the brain, we can predict for about three-quarters of the people whether they will increase their use of sunscreen beyond what they say they will do,” Lieberman said.

“It is the one region of the prefrontal cortex that we know is disproportionately larger in humans than in other primates,” he added. “This region is associated with self-awareness, and seems to be critical for thinking about yourself and thinking about your preferences and values.”




Program Manager: Todd Hughes, Ph.D. (AEO)

NIA LogoThe vision for the Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts (NIA) program is to revolutionize the way that analysts handle intelligence imagery, increasing both the throughput of imagery to the analyst and overall accuracy of the assessments. Current computer-based target detection capabilities cannot process vast volumes of imagery with the speed, flexibility, and precision of the human visual system. Investigations of visual neuroscience mechanisms have indicated that the human brain is capable of responding to visually salient objects significantly faster than an individual’s visual-motor, transformation-based (i.e., movement) response.

The NIA program seeks to identify robust brain signals that are amenable to recording in an operational environment and process these in real time to select images worthy of further review. The program aims ultimately to apply these triage methods to static, broad-area, and video imagery. Successful development of a neurobiologically based image triage system will increase the speed and accuracy of image analysis in a context where the number of acquired images is expected to rise significantly. In sum, the results of the NIA program will enable image analysts to train more effectively and process imagery with greater speed and precision.

In this Dec. 30, 2009 file photo, Tanner Suttles, left, a Transportation Security Administration employee is screened by a TSA officer during a demonstration of passenger screening technology at the TSA Systems Integration Facility in Arlington, Va. Security experts have floated several new ideas to enhance airport security in the weeks since authorities say a Nigerian man on a Detroit-bound jetliner tried to ignite explosives hidden in his crotch. Some ideas are being tested, others are far from proven, some aren’t being seriously considered. Many raise questions about civil liberties and all are costly. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Associated Press | Jan 8, 2010

by Michael Tarm

CHICAGO – A would-be terrorist tries to board a plane, bent on mass murder. As he walks through a security checkpoint, fidgeting and glancing around, a network of high-tech machines analyzes his body language and reads his mind.