Will Brain Microchips Make Us Less than Human?

Many members of the population have been exposed to the idea of brain microchips through sci-fi and cyberpunk fiction. William Gibson examined the degeneration of society in parallel with the emergence of technologies such as cybernetics and brain implants. Philip K. Dick delved into the potential for control when technology integrates with the human brain. These concerns seem more valid now that companies such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink are developing brain microchip technology.

Musk has expressed hopes that his company’s microchips will be able to accomplish wonders such as being able to “save” memories like photos and helping paraplegics walk again. While this sounds promising to many, others may consider it dangerous, blind optimism. Some have chosen to heed the warnings of speculative fiction, seeing inherent hazards in transhumanism.

Market research company and opinion survey service.  John Zogby Strategies recently polled 777 individuals on this topic. The data reveals a population eyeing brain microchip technology with a healthy amount of caution. 77% of respondents believed that brain microchips would become a tool for achieving never-before-seen levels of totalitarian control. Over half of respondents also believed brain microchips would destroy the social fabric. A good amount of respondents were also not looking forward to transhumanism or the technological singularity, with 67% declaring they wanted to retain their humanity by not merging with AI.

Brain microchip technology is uncharted territory, so a healthy amount of caution will be beneficial for researchers, technologists, and manufacturers exploring this new field. Brain chip companies should follow a stringent, ethical, and transparent standard of behavior as they seek to test the limits of this new technology.