Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Rodent brains will eat our lunch

I'm a big supporter of science and scientific endeavors, and a major detractor of science's...detractors, I guess you could say. But I've been seeing a lot of stories lately that make me think either we're at the beginning of a really disturbing trend in science, or that old Mother Nature is working overtime on getting us to wipe ourselves out. Perhaps she's not happy with how quickly we're killing ourselves through stupidity, so she's started working harder on the other end of the spectrum.

Indulge me while I connect some dots.
  1. Scientists have long been working on linking brain cells to computers. In 1999, scientists in California developed an electronic neuron that communicates with lobster brains (using $7.50 worth of parts from Radio Shack. I kid you not.)

  2. Scientists in Germany and Canada have developed microchips that can interact with human brains.

  3. Not just newer chips, but newer types of brains are also part of the trend. F'rinstance, scientists in California have succeeded in creating mice that have human brain cells in their heads.

    I wonder if they name these mice. Do they give them names like Tennyson or Franklin?

  4. The final piece of the puzzle is the announcement that scientists have succeeded in growing a small rat brain from scratch and getting it to interact with a computer. And just how do the scientists verify that this "brain" is interacting with the computer? Do they have it blink some lights or sound a buzzer? No, they teach it how to pilot an F-22 jet fighter.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Am I the only one who finds it more than a wee bit disturbing?


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