Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Electronic Drugs

I've written before about electronic remediation - how our technology threatens to add a layer to reality, especially the electronic gadgets that we filter our senses through.

You know, actually, this all started innocently enough out of a quasi-drunken discussion around a bonfire this past weekend. It started out with video games. One parent was amazed at how his kids could play video games with a controller that had about "three hundred buttons, switches, arrows and knobs" on it.

I mused "We had, like, a joystick and a button".

"Yeah, and now, I can't figure any of it out at all. I've just given up on trying to play video games with the kids". 

"Yeah, well, they been playing them since they was two. It's second nature to them."

"Well, look at remote controls on TVs. fifty, sixty, buttons. I'd much rather have an Iphone interface with symbols and pictograms, like I'm a chimp."

"Well, with electrodes and computers, the trend will head towards direct control through the brain. They are getting to the point where not only can you control machines with your brain, your thoughts can be read with computers ".

"I ain't wearing no bicycle helmet."

"Oh no. It'll be like a baseball cap or something".

"Oh, fucking great. Electronic telepathy. Like I can keep up with the kids now".

(Guy grabs baseball cap off his head, looks at it, throws it on the ground) "I can't get my hat to work! Goddamnit!"

"You know, if they can read your brain, can they write to it?"

"Oh man! The ultimate video game! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!"

"Would it?"

Now I'm starting to wonder just how far in the future electronic drugs are? And I would define - since Google doesn't know about it - electronic drugs as the electromagnetic manipulation of the brain to provide alternate or modified experiences, emotions, and possibly... personalities.

Think LSD on Acid.

Techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation utilize magnetic impulses to stimulate or suppress nerve cells in the brain. This is often used as treatment for depression. Electromagnetic devices have also been used to possibly alter a person's moral compass . I'm assuming that as the technology advances, smaller and more specific brain regions can be modified. The ultimate progression would be technology that has complete and precise control over exact brain regions so that, say, the experience of playing with a puppy can be electronically simulated, or a bungee jump,  or the smell of a flower, or thrill of fear, or an impulse to steal, or, well, you see where this is going.

On the one hand, it means creating the ultimate video game, the Mother of all Addiction. Or mind control. Or who knows what? Scary, huh?

1 comment:

  1. ...and the little chips they want to put in our kids to keep them safe are only the beginning...