By: Philip | 11-25-2017 | Science
Photo credit: Ralph Brannan | Dreamstime.com

DARPA AI-Controlled Brain Implants Raise Ethical Concerns

The US military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on an experimental treatment for soldiers with PTSD involving AI-controlled brain implants. The implants are designed to treat mood disorders and have been tested previously on humans, according to reports. The goal is to impact the rising number of suicides of US veterans. The implants are designed to use artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor for patterns associated with mood disturbances. The implant then applies a shock to the brain in order to stabilize the brain.

Ethical concerns raised are considerable, however. Researchers would be able to read brain patterns to such a great degree there has been concern they might have too much access to the patient's subconscious. Others point out the slippery slope between devices like these and implants that could lead to "a psychocivilized society" as <a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/tribute-to-jose-delgado-legendary-and-slightly-scary-pioneer-of-mind-control/">CIA sponsored mind control researcher Dr. Jose Delgado</a> put it in the 60's.

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<a href="http://www.euronews.com/2017/11/24/us-military-funds-ai-brain-implants-to-treat-veterans-post-traumatic-stress-disorder">Dr. Adam Henschke, is an ethicist, he wrote an analysis</a> of some potential ethical considerations:

<blockquote>“Direct neurostimulation by deep brain implants is a potentially useful means for treating people with Parkinson’s disease,”

“But as Jens Clausen’s coverage of the neuroethics of deep brain stimulation shows, it has numerous unwanted side-effects: speech disturbance, memory impairment, increased aggression, hypomania, depression and suicide.

“It is important to recognize that the numbers vary across studies: 1.5-25% of research subjects displayed depression; increased aggression was observed in only 2% of the cases in one study.

“However, enhancement in the military context can directly impact when and how one decides to apply potentially lethal violence. The unwanted effects in this case are not merely side-effects: they demand primary consideration.

“Decisions made during war are literally matters of life and death, and any enhancement to moral decision-making in warfare would surely be a welcome development. But, if any cognitive enhancement technology were to undermine the capacity of a subject to follow the law of armed conflict, it would be a source of very serious concern indeed.”</blockquote>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">DARPA Invests $18.3 Million In Brain Implant Startup That&#39;s Building &#39;A Modem For The Mind&#39; via <a href="https://twitter.com/Forbes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@forbes</a> <a href="https://t.co/4g8RvNo3xP">https://t.co/4g8RvNo3xP</a></p>&mdash; Mike Ryan (@MikeGordonRyan) <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeGordonRyan/status/885184433384431616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 12, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Earlier this year, <a href="https://corpina.com/question-cognitive-enhancement-ethics/">DARPA earmarked $50 million for research involving implants</a> that would apply electro-stimulation of the peripheral nervous system and the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve runs from the gut to the brain and is involved in dopamine signalling in the brain and as a result may be implicated in conditions like epilepsy, depression and some other mood disturbances. The earlier DARPA project's goal was the design of non-invasive implants that would allow precise electro-stimulation of the vagus nerve for the purpose of enhancing the speed and effectiveness of language learning. Researchers had hopes that the implants might have application as a drug-free treatment for depression, epilepsy and other disorders. The potential for cognitive enhancement and control of disorders concerns some ethicists who note that the same technologies could be used as weapons.

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1 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 12689 2017-11-26 : 07:46

Where is my jetpack, dammit?

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