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Bionic sex chip, and The future of mind control !

Bionic sex chip, and The future of mind control !

The Sunday Times

December 21, 2008
bionic sex chip  mind control mindreading

What a turn-on: science develops bionic sex chip

John Harlow

FORGET Viagra: scientists are working on an electronic “sex chip” that will be able to stimulate pleasure centres in the brain.

The prospect of the chip, which could be a decade away, is emerging from progress in deep brain stimulation, in which tiny shocks from implanted electrodes are given to the brain. The technology has been used in America to treat Parkinson’s disease.

In recent months scientists have been focusing on an area of the brain just behind the eyes known as the orbitofrontal cortex. This is associated with feelings of pleasure derived from eating and sex.

A research survey conducted by Morten Kringelbach, senior fellow at Oxford University’s department of psychiatry, and reported in the Nature Reviews Neuroscience journal, found that the orbitofrontal cortex could be a “new stimulation target” to help people suffering from anhedonia, an inability to experience pleasure from such activities. Stimulating this area can produce pleasure as intense as “devouring a delicious pastry”, he said.
bionicgate  bionic sex chip
His colleague Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, predicted a significant breakthrough in the science behind a “sex chip” within 10 years.

“There is evidence that this chip will work,” Aziz said last week. “A few years ago a scientist implanted such a device into the brain of a woman with a low sex drive and turned her into a very sexually active woman. She didn’t like the sudden change, so the wiring in her head was removed.”

The wiring remains a hurdle: Aziz says current technology, which requires surgery to connect a wire from a heart pacemaker into the brain, causes bleeding in some patients and is “intrusive and crude”.

By 2015, he predicts, micro-computers in the brain with a range of applications could be self-powered and controlled by hand-held transmitters.

“When the technology is improved, we can use deep brain stimulation in many new areas. It will be more subtle, with more control over the power so you may be able to turn the chip on and off when needed.

“In 10 years’ time the range of therapies available will be amazing – we don’t know half the possibilities yet,” he said.

An electronic machine that generates sexual sensations is already under development by a North Carolina doctor, Stuart Meloy, who is modifying a spinal cord stimulator to produce pleasure in women. He calls it the Orgasmatron, a name taken from an orgasm-producing device in the 1973 Woody Allen film Sleeper. A similar device, the Excessive Machine, featured in Jane Fonda’s 1968 film, Barbarella.

Some critics regard the techniques as only a step away from brain washing.

“We are being led to big philosophical questions by rapid technological advances,” said Mahlon DeLong of Emory University in Atlanta, who has pioneered breakthroughs in brain stimulation to help Parkinson’s sufferers. “If we don’t discuss them now, they may be taking place before we can resolve the issues.”

Where can I get one?

chris j, Swansea, UK

And 10 years later still, chips will be implanted into newborn babies (DNA records should be commonplace by then). Welcome to the Government controlled minds that make up the population of Great Britain.

Howard, Manchester,

“…we don’t know half the possibilities yet”. That’s right. The other half includes torture by inflicting intolerable pain. The Governments will love it.

Stephen J. Brown, Cambridge, UK

Scientists are working in a new brain-implanted sex stimulation chip that will make you (even more) horny than what you already are. Apparently, according to Oxford University researcher Professor Aziz, it was discovered by accident:

A few years ago a scientist implanted such a device into the brain of a woman with a low sex drive and turned her into a very sexually active woman. She didn’t like the sudden change, so the wiring in her head was removed.

That accidental discovery was the result on research of a chip—which creates small shocks deep in the brain—already being used to fight Parkinson’s disease, and has prompted scientists to explore a new chip that will work in the orbitofrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is connected to the sense of pleasure from eating and sex.

If you have read Milo Manara’s Clic (NSFW, if you look it up in Google), you know how thisreally works. But don’t expect a machine like that yet. According to the team investigating it, we are still 10 years away from actually developing one that won’t require invasive brain surgery.

Meanwhile, back in America, Dr Stuart Meloy is creating his own version of the machine that concentrates on the spinal cord. He is calling it the Orgasmatron after the device from Woody Allen’s Sleeper. And no, I’m not joking. [Daily Mail]


The future of mind control

People already worry about genetics. They should worry about brain science too !

IN AN attempt to treat depression, neuroscientists once carried out a simple experiment. Using electrodes, they stimulated the brains of women in ways that caused pleasurable feelings. The subjects came to no harm—indeed their symptoms appeared to evaporate, at least temporarily—but they quickly fell in love with their experimenters.

Such a procedure (and there have been worse in the history of neuroscience) poses far more of a threat to human dignity and autonomy than does cloning. Cloning is the subject of fierce debate, with proposals for wholesale bans. Yet when it comes to neuroscience, no government or treaty stops anything. For decades, admittedly, no neuroscientist has been known to repeat the love experiment. A scientist who used a similar technique to create remote-controlled rats seemed not even to have entertained the possibility. “Humans? Who said anything about humans?” he said, in genuine shock, when questioned. “We work on rats.”

IN AN attempt to treat depression, neuroscientists once carried out a simple experiment. Using electrodes, they stimulated the brains of women in ways that caused pleasurable feelings. The subjects came to no harm—indeed their symptoms appeared to evaporate, at least temporarily—but they quickly fell in love with their experimenters.

A person’s genetic make-up certainly has something important to do with his subsequent behaviour. But genes exert their effects through the brain. If you want to predict and control a person’s behaviour, the brain is the place to start. Over the course of the next decade, scientists may be able to predict, by examining a scan of a person’s brain, not only whether he will tend to mental sickness or health, but also whether he will tend to depression or violence. Neural implants may within a few years be able to increase intelligence or to speed up reflexes. Drug companies are hunting for molecules to assuage brain-related ills, from paralysis to shyness (see article).

A public debate over the ethical limits to such neuroscience is long overdue. It may be hard to shift public attention away from genetics, which has so clearly shown its sinister side in the past. The spectre of eugenics, which reached its culmination in Nazi Germany, haunts both politicians and public. The fear that the ability to monitor and select for desirable characteristics will lead to the subjugation of the undesirable—or the merely unfashionable—is well-founded.

Not so long ago neuroscientists, too, were guilty of victimising the mentally ill and the imprisoned in the name of science. Their sins are now largely forgotten, thanks in part to the intractable controversy over the moral status of embryos. Anti-abortion lobbyists, who find stem-cell research and cloning repugnant, keep the ethics of genetic technology high on the political agenda. But for all its importance, the quarrel over abortion and embryos distorts public discussion of bioethics; it is a wonder that people in the field can discuss anything else.

In fact, they hardly do. America’s National Institutes of Health has a hefty budget for studying the ethical, legal and social implications of genetics, but it earmarks nothing for the specific study of the ethics of neuroscience. The National Institute of Mental Health, one of its component bodies, has seen fit to finance a workshop on the ethical implications of “cyber-medicine”, yet it has not done the same to examine the social impact of drugs for “hyperactivity”, which 7% of American six- to eleven-year-olds now take. The Wellcome Trust, Britain’s main source of finance for the study of biomedical ethics, has a programme devoted to the ethics of brain research, but the number of projects is dwarfed by its parallel programme devoted to genetics.

bionic gate

Uncontrollable fears

The worriers have not spent these resources idly. Rather, they have produced the first widespread legislative and diplomatic efforts directed at containing scientific advance. The Council of Europe and the United Nations have declared human reproductive cloning a violation of human rights. The Senate is soon to vote on a bill that would send American scientists to prison for making cloned embryonic stem cells.

Yet neuroscientists have been left largely to their own devices, restrained only by standard codes of medical ethics and experimentation. This relative lack of regulation and oversight has produced a curious result. When it comes to the brain, society now regards the distinction between treatment and enhancement as essentially meaningless. Taking a drug such as Prozac when you are not clinically depressed used to be called cosmetic, or non-essential, and was therefore considered an improper use of medical technology. Now it is regarded as just about as cosmetic, and as non-essential, as birth control or orthodontics. American legislators are weighing the so-called parity issue—the argument that mental treatments deserve the same coverage in health-insurance plans as any other sort of drug. Where drugs to change personality traits were once seen as medicinal fripperies, or enhancements, they are now seen as entitlements.

This flexible attitude towards neurotechnology—use it if it might work, demand it if it does—is likely to extend to all sorts of other technologies that affect health and behaviour, both genetic and otherwise. Rather than resisting their advent, people are likely to begin clamouring for those that make themselves and their children healthier and happier.

This might be bad or it might be good. It is a question that public discussion ought to try to settle, perhaps with the help of a regulatory body such as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which oversees embryo research in Britain. History teaches that worrying overmuch about technological change rarely stops it. Those who seek to halt genetics in its tracks may soon learn that lesson anew, as rogue scientists perform experiments in defiance of well-intended bans. But, if society is concerned about the pace and ethics of scientific advance, it should at least form a clearer picture of what is worth worrying about, and why.

8 Replies

  1. “Part of my concern is that when we start seeing these things emerging, we’re going to suddenly find that the people who could bring benefits to us won’t because they’re scared of the legal uncertainty,” he said. “So one of the things we’re trying to promote is a debate about the rights and wrongs – the ethics – and that should inform the law afterwards.”

  2. Do you think that humans could advance robot technology so that one day, they could think for themselves without our control, reproduce without human assistance, and get energy from the environment and food sources rather than relying on purely electrical human-produced power?

    I have a cousin studying robotics at the South China Institute of Technology and he says robots could be considered “living” so it got me thinking.1967100