I think it’s important not to think of the brain as ‘just a bunch of cells’, but rather as a hundred billion individual identities that want to live and grow. The ancestors of the cells of the brain were free agents; swimming, creeping, crawling, swirling their way through the waters of ancient earth; feeding, resting, sensing, fighting, fleeing, multiplying.
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Find it hard to motivate yourself to exercise or read Joyce’s Ulysses? What if you could toggle your brain chip to get more pleasure from virtuous, good-for-you activities than you do from watching television and goofing off on Facebook? IEET contributor Chris Harris points out that we need to start asking that question already.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure involving the insertion of a small electrode into the brain to modulate electrical activity. Over 40.000 patients worldwide have undergone placement of Medtronic Activa, the most popular DBS system.
“Most people don’t realize how common brain implants have become in the last couple of years. Every month thousands of patients all over the world have electronics surgically implanted into their heads to treat problems with hearing, movement and pain, and more recently with epilepsy, vision, paralysis, depresssion, compulsive behaviour and loss of consciousness (Perlmutter & Mink, 2006; Lebedev & Licolelis, 2006; Kringelbach et al, 2007). The iPlant is just another implant, aimed at new regions in the brain.”