The threats and ethics of neuroweapons and mind control

The current issue of the UNESCO Courier examines the subject of neuroweapons and mind control.  Many feel new international regulation on the use of neuroscience technology for manipulating and interrogating people’s minds is needed.

I agree, but I also think it is prudent to separate fact from fear, and to put this potential threat in perspective.

I recommend the issue, which includes multiple viewpoints from scientists and authorities.  My contribution is the following:

 

Hacking the brain:
More fantasy
than reality

Although there has been spectacular progress in neuroscience
in recent decades, the possibilities that have been opened
up by the development of brain-computer interfaces are
not infinite. An extremely complex mechanism, the brain has
far from revealed all its secrets.

In 2016, the United States Department
of State reported that personnel at
the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba,
were attacked by a neuroweapon
that caused traumatic brain injury. After
intensive investigations produced no
evidence of any type of direct energy
weapon, the reported brain injury, which
takes various forms, is now called the
“Havana Syndrome”.

The prospect of mind control by using
electrodes implanted in the brain or by
beaming electromagnetic, sonic or laser
light through the skull has a long history.
Notably in the 1950s and 1960s, advances
in electronics enabled neuroscientists
to insert stimulating electrodes into
the brains of experimental animals and
humans to investigate how the brain
functions and controls behaviour, both
normal and abnormal. Public alarm
swelled as leading neuroscientists
advocated using radio-controlled brain
stimulation to correct deviant behaviour.
During the Cold War period,
b r a i n w a s h i n g t e c h n i q u e s t o
reprogramme the brain and overwhelm
the free will of hapless victims grew
out of new research in psychology
and psychopharmacology… read the full article (and the others) in UNESCO Courier (open access) 

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