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Brain implants are here. Are they terrifying or exciting?

Neuro interface patient Nathan Copeland, a quadriplegic brain implant patient who can experience the sensation of touch and control a remote robotic arm with his brain, listens as US President Barack Obama speaks while touring innovation projects at the White House Frontiers Conference.
Neuro interface patient Nathan Copeland, a quadriplegic brain implant patient who can experience the sensation of touch and control a remote robotic arm with his brain, listens as US President Barack Obama speaks while touring innovation projects at the White House Frontiers Conference.

By now, you may have seen the headlines: Elon Musk wants to put a computer chip inside your brain.

Musk’s brain implant company, Neuralink, recently received FDA approval for human trials. But it isn’t the only company developing brain chips. Other companies like Synchron and Blackrock Neurotech have already implanted patients with brain-computer interfaces in early trials. 

The medical possibilities of brain implants are vast: from treating paralysis and blindness to depression and schizophrenia. Brain implants could also eventually help us learn new skills, improve concentration, motor skills, and more. 

Is this a future that excites you? Or does it terrify you? And what ethical questions should we be asking now?

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven
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