OpinionTrending Commentary

Biotech Company Promotes Brain Chips Implanted in Humans Through Art Exhibit

Dear Rest of America

We’re going to be connecting the dots of “progress” today.

Let’s start with a few questions.

What do we seek for our basic physical survival needs, comfort, and even indulgence? Fairly easy—food and drink.

What do many seek for disease cure and or prevention? It could be natural or synthetic medicine, and even vaccination.

What kind of technology is integrated across many devices we rely upon in everyday life—from desktop personal computers (PCs) and laptops, to cellphones and cars, and credit or debit cards?

So that would be semiconductor technology, the most significant being the integrated circuit (IC) or “chip” made from silicon material.

Aided by this “chip” technology over the past 60 years, we’ve made “progress” towards improving our quality of life, right? Life is physically less demanding and labor-intensive for the average American, and much more convenient because:

  • food & drink is more convenient and affordable;

  • communication is more convenient;

  • access to information & opportunities for learning is easier;

  • medicine & healthcare advancements.

Life—communication, travel and access to our basic needs—is also much faster than over half a century ago.

We’ve definitely made “progress” for sure.

But as this “chip” technology advances, and gets closer to the human touch, it is gradually heading into the human touch.

Indeed, a previous article from January reveals that Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos invested in a brain-computer interface (BCI) company in late 2022, joining the rising tide of BCI companies like Elon Musk’s Neuralink since 2016.

Another article dated October 2022 argues that a Netflix cartoon, showing wrist-implanted devices for “convenience” and “safety,” deliberately employs predictive programming to target the susceptible minds of children.

And how can we forget the activism of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and its minions, as explored by Dear Rest Of America in September 2022?

“As scary as chip implants may sound,” writes the research & development (R&D) vice president of a microelectronics center, “they form part of a natural evolution that wearables once underwent.”

In the grand scheme of BCI technology, America has definitely been making “progress.”

In late April, a mainstream outlet reported that a Utah-based company had implanted brain chips in dozens of patients, in an effort to cure depression, blindness and paralysis.

Known as “NeuroPort Array,” this brain implant is manufactured by Blackrock Neurotech in Salt Lake City, and allows individuals to control prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs, play video games—and even experience bodily sensations.

The BCI attaches around 100 “arrays” or microneedle-shaped chips to someone’s brain, and translates and stimulates electrical signals generated by their thoughts.

Over three dozen people have reportedly received Blackrock Neurotech’s implant thus far, and there are hopes to commercialize the device. Co-founder and CEO Marcus Gerhardt said to the DailyMail.com:

“We are the only company with direct-brain BCI implants in humans. Our implantable arrays have enabled people to connect directly to computers, control robotic arms and wheelchairs, play video games, even regain sensation—with just their brain signals.”

Blackrock Neurotech, formerly known as Blackrock Microsystems, was founded in 2008—and, no, doesn’t appear to be affiliated with the investment mogul BlackRock Inc. The biotech company describes itself as the “world’s leading platform company for BCI technology and the development of implantable solutions that improve human lives.”

A NeuroPort Array—in fact, multiple NeuroPort Arrays—can be placed on the surface of the same person’s brain.

Afterwards, the implant detects electrical signals generated by that person’s thoughts.

Now here’s where all the “magic” begins.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven software built using machine learning algorithms translates these signals into digital instructions, including cursor movements to use a computer program, control a wheelchair or control prosthetic arms to draw.

Speaking of drawing, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Blackrock Neurotech have launched a BCI art exhibit at the AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The exhibit will feature digital art creations by several “BCI Pioneers,” patients with paralysis who have received BCI implants, which convert their thoughts to cursor movements on graphics editor software like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Paint.

Blackrock Neurotech’s BCI technology has been studied in patients with paralysis since 2004, but was initially focused on research rather than promoting its work to the general public.

“As a company, we’ve also taken a much more active role in stepping out from behind the curtain and helping enthusiastic patients tell their stories,” Gerhardt said. “Once patients have access to these devices outside the lab, I think we’ll really see an increase in public interest.”

Among the exhibit’s featured artists are Nathan Copeland and James Johnson, who enrolled in a research study after becoming paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.

Indeed, such art can be an innovative medium for creating public awareness—and possibly support—around BCIs in managing a health condition. Consequently, artists become advocates for advancing technologies that are successfully promoted as “improving lives.”

And that’s where a problem might start.

What is sold to us, everyday people, as BCIs to “improve lives” as thus viewed as “progress” in healthcare, could very quickly shift to “improving lives” of the hard-working American who might be tempted to ease thinking too hard, and allow their brain chip to perform information processing instead.

As mentioned in the article entitled World Economic Forum: “Chip Implants” Is Part of “Natural Evolution, there is arguably a process to selling an idea to the masses, making them feel comfortable and relaxed, and helping them lower their guard as BCI technology enters the mainstream:

“Normalization starts with ‘individual choice’ for adults restricted to a particular company or a niche group of microchip enthusiasts. But, before long, an implant becomes compulsory for all employees, and within years, the tech world of Silicon Valley will have embraced microchipping. Normalization needs to move fast before people have too much time to build opposition, and the next thing we know, schools are looking at microchipping our children for their ‘safety.’”

What could these possible “improvements to life,” marked as “progress” and sold to a growing population comfortable with wearable technology, particularly with every new generation of youth, be?

Well, let’s just consider the following from the aforementioned article:

  • connect our brain to the Internet and “download” new information in an increasingly fast-paced society where we don’t have time to learn anymore;

  • enable facial recognition without physical ID cards or passports because we can’t responsibly carry these around;

  • perform financial transactions without the hassle of getting out our card or smartphone, which could obviously get lost or stolen;

  • track our children’s whereabouts because we obviously can’t teach them to be vigilant, and we can’t trust them anymore because they’re bound to lose their smartphone.”

Make no mistake. Art is a political tool used for advocacy and serves as a vehicle for social change. Whatever the medium—performance arts, photography, graphics or the spoken word—through art, we can visualize the conditions in which people live and the struggles they face, raise consciousness, and shape how we think about our society.

Art can also be used to cultivate empathy and a sense of connectedness, which can be pulled and twisted in a direction that almost justifies the need for implantable technology.

But okay, just wait.

The BCI device isn’t without fault—or inconvenience.

The likes of NeuroPort Array have been reportedly implanted in patients for a combined 80 years without any reports of severe adverse effects. However, the BCI does have some pitfalls: the arrays on the implant, that’s the microneedle-shaped chips, gradually deteriorate over time and weaken its signal quality after two years. Therefore, the device has to be replaced after approximately five years, requiring another surgery, though the period between BCI renewals has reportedly varied among patients.

Indeed, Copeland uses his BCI implant of eight years to feed himself using a robotic arm controlled by his brain, as well as create art and play video games. And Johnson, using his BCI, has been able to resume photo manipulations, and some of his Adobe Photoshop artwork is also displayed at the BCI exhibit.

With everything said, Blackrock Neurotech is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for devices built for people with paralysis at home, and outside a research laboratory environment.

Gerhardt said that he hopes BCIs will become as universal for paralyzed patients as pacemakers are for people with heart conditions. He also expressed that:

“Once home-use BCIs are available, they’ll help people build new lives that may have seemed impossible following their disability; we think we’ll see people return to work, establish greater independence, and engage with the world in powerful new ways.”

And then, what next, Mr Gerhardt?

Might BCIs get promoted into the mainstream spotlight, starting with the odd celebrity or social media influencer, followed by city workers in high-tech?

Didn’t Musk announce in 2017, and again in 2019, that he hoped his neurotechnology startup, Neuralink, would begin implanting BCIs into human brains and connecting these devices to computers via the Internet?

For now, Americans generally appear cautious about brain implants, despite the potential for faster and more accurate information processing.

A Pew Research Center poll released in March 2022 showed that only 13 percent of surveyed 10,260 U.S. adults thought that chips implanted in the brain would be a “good idea.”

At the same time, nearly 80 percent of respondents said they would favor BCIs for medical purposes to allow increased movement for people who are paralyzed.

However, 59 percent of Americans said that the widespread use of BCIs for improved information processing would be more acceptable if people could turn on and off the effects of the chip implant.

In other words, they are seeking control of their autonomy. But accepting such devices as normative would result in a dangerous and irreversible turning point, exponentially decreasing our freedoms by giving our sovereign power away to institutions, such as banks, corporations and the government, for personal data storage and surveillance.

Furthermore, the Center poll found that around 60 percent of Americans thought that if BCIs became widespread, most people would feel pressure to get a brain implant.

As expressed in an earlier article, entitled The Battle To Get Inside You: Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates Fund Brain Implant Company Synchron Competing With Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a growing “suspicion is the possible—or maybe potential—promotion and mainstreaming of BCIs that begins with incentives and, before we’ve even had time to put up a good fight, coercion and mandates.”

Talk about pressure to get a brain implant.

Or, is it “progress” to get a brain implant?

America, listen up.

Those who love individual, human autonomy.

Parents, educators and elected officials.

U.S. Constitution respecters and respecters of the Bible.

We. Need. To. Be. On. The. Offensive. To. Maintain. Our. God-given. Freedoms.

Content syndicated from Dear Rest of America with permission

Agree/Disagree with the author(s)? Let them know in the comments below and be heard by 10’s of thousands of CDN readers each day!

Support Conservative Daily News with a small donation via Paypal or credit card that will go towards supporting the news and commentary you've come to appreciate.

Dear Rest Of America

Dear Rest Of America is a newsletter written by Cameron Keegan, who independently researches and writes about American politics, faith and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. To learn more, visit Dear Rest Of America and for questions, send an email to ckeeganan@substack.com

Related Articles

Back to top button