Mind Reading and Mind Control Technologies. The electrical waves in the brain can be detected and controlled with a set of devices and cables that are already placed in the head . But very soon, these devices and cables will replace drugs that are much more practical than them. This situation can affect society deeply.
The brain waves of a person can tell us whether that person has normal or abnormal consciousness. New methods of stimulating certain parts of the brain can improve mental and neurological diseases and even control behavior. As the mind reading and mind control technologies progress, it confuses the ethical questions on this subject.
It is used to measure and manipulate electrical waves in the brain and to diagnose many neurological and mental diseases. However, it is possible to use this process beyond diagnosing diseases. For example; It can be used to measure IQ , to determine the tendency to learn certain types of information, or to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses. By looking at these characteristics of a child, it can be predicted how successful he can be at school before he starts school.
Armed with the ability to know what a person thinks, scientists can do more. They can predict a person’s behavioral tendencies. When the individual hears words such as “death” or “happiness”, they can watch how the brain reacts to tell if the person is considering suicide.
People who think about suicide tend to hide their thoughts from their loved ones and therapists. Uncovering someone thinking about suicide can be life saving. However, this insight of the individual’s suicidal ideation is formed by the determination of the brain activity in the individual’s brain as ‘abnormal’. But how should we determine the concepts of normal and abnormal?
Stimulating the brain to alter behavior and treat mental illness has a bad history. In the 1970s, neuropsychologist Robert Heath from Tulane University stimulated the brain’s pleasure center and placed electrodes in the man’s brain to treat a gay individual.
Spanish neuroscientist José Delgado used an electrode radio controlled device to understand and control how behaviors in monkeys, humans and even a bull occur. Delgado’s goal was to save the world of perverted behavior through brain stimulation and produce a “psycho civilized” society.
The possibility of controlling a person’s brain with electrical stimulation is uncomfortable for many. However, the existing methods used to treat mental and neurological disorders are unfortunately inadequate and very shallow. Neurological and psychoactive drugs, in addition to what is targeted, affect many different nerve circuits and cause extensive side effects.
There are also drugs prescribed by trial and error. Moreover, any brain surgery carries huge risks. Surgical removal of brain tissue can lead to diseases with physical, cognitive , personality or psychological dysfunctions by damaging healthy tissue or unable to remove all dysfunctional tissues .
Electroconvulsive stimulation (ECT) sends electricity to the entire brain, which allows the brain to reset itself in some way. Although this is not all, it can be good for many diseases such as Parkinson’s and chronic depression . Instead of sending electricity to the whole brain or saturating it with medicines, it is much more logical to warn the defective part.
Leaving aside the bad practices in history, we cannot ignore that the development of these technologies will add much to our lives. New methods of directly monitoring and manipulating the electrical activity of the brain will raise intimidating ethical questions that did not exist before. We are in an irreversible process in this regard. We need to follow this process closely.