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Science Technology

Brain Implant Can Automatically Adjust Dopamine Levels (ieee.org) 35

Reader Wave723 writes about an implantable chip that is able to detect and adjust dopamine levels in mice brains. Created by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, the chip, unlike other brain implants, traces the neurotransmitter instead of relying on electrical signals. Wave723 elaborates: This brain implant is a chip that can automatically sense dopamine levels through an electrode that measures the flow of the neurotransmitter through the brain and pH levels. An algorithm within the device calculates whether dopamine levels are within a predetermined range, and if not, the chip sends an electrical impulse to stimulate neurons to produce more. Someday, it might help patients with a variety of disorders including addiction, or Parkinson's disease though a lot more research is needed to be done on neurotransmitter levels in order to reach that point.
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Brain Implant Can Automatically Adjust Dopamine Levels

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  • by NoImNotNineVolt ( 832851 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @01:04PM (#51776905) Homepage
    I'm familiar with this plot line, and it doesn't end well for humanity.
    • Yes, I was going to say the same. That's one step closer to the wireheads distopya.

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        Yes, I was going to say the same. That's one step closer to the wireheads distopya.

        There's the sad wireheads dystopia and then the dopamine-fueled enforcers problem... since high dopamine levels increase likelihood of aggression:
        http://www.autismwebsite.com/c... [autismwebsite.com]

        I mean, what happens when the Police/Military can just wire up the dopamine to when they want their troops to kill kill kill?

  • I remember reading that book back in the seventies.
    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      We are more and more becoming cyborgs, even though today we disconnect us mostly when we enter our beds.

    • Yeah....the guy learns how to stimulate various pleasure centers at will....i remember that book as well.
  • eCrack (Score:4, Insightful)

    by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @01:10PM (#51776949) Journal
    Hacks for your mandatory implant
  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday March 25, 2016 @01:14PM (#51776967)

    ...and the other wireheads are waiting for it.

  • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @01:16PM (#51776975)

    Being able to intelligently remodel the risk-reward path could be the biggest step forward for humanity since the development of antibiotics. We're not there yet, but this is a big step.

    Also creepy, though. Tie it to an external trigger and you could use it to reward allegiance to a particular political party, or to the state, or to betraying the state, or to almost anything.

    • Yes we can implant these in criminals and when their ai monitor detects poor behavior shut off their dopamine. Or schoolchildren.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I had no idea that we were supplying well behaved criminals with schoolchildren. When did this come into practice and what would criminals want with schoolchildren in the first place?

    • Being able to intelligently remodel the risk-reward path could be the biggest step forward for humanity since the development of antibiotics. We're not there yet, but this is a big step.

      That depends on what you call a step forward.
      Redesigning the human condition on a more or less morally bankrupt social philosophy sounds more like a path to extinction to me.
      Evolution has done a pretty good job at creating a risk reward model that keeps pushing us in the right direction.
      Panic, fear, anger, aggression, hatred and sorrow are the most essential parts of the human thought process.
      We are supposed to be pissed we have shitty leaders. We are supposed to be paranoid that the government is cons

      • Evolution has done a pretty good job at creating a risk reward model that keeps pushing us in the right direction.

        Sure. And then you have World War 2, the Cold War, Donald Trump, ISIS, and Global Warming. Not to mention mass domestic violence, alcoholism, and substance abuse. Our technology and even human relationships already far exceed our collective wisdom.

    • a chip that can automatically sense dopamine levels through an electrode that measures the flow of the neurotransmitter through the brain

      This is a bit like accidentally saying "we gave antidepressants to Chicago" instead of "we gave antidepressants to a person in Chicago". Lots of different regions in the brain, not one.

  • No, not the TV show. In The Ringworld Engineers [wikipedia.org], Larry Niven proposes a future where we can get a wire put in our heads to "tickle" the pleasure center of our brains whenever we want. The only danger, besides it being habit-forming, is that a wirehead [wikipedia.org] can starve to death being so euphoric all the time, so the power supply (it literally plugs into a socket on the skull) is typically rigged with a timer.

    Ain't the future gonna be grand?

  • Coming Fall 2016 : Cookie Clicker : APOCALYPSE [answcdn.com]
  • I'm looking forward to the "free dopamine brain implant" offerings where you get free dopamine for the first ten days for the month, and after that you have to pay for it.

  • Someday, it might help governments with a variety of undesirables including protestors, or others critical of the government, to keep the populace under control remotely, though a lot more research is needed to be done on neurotransmitter levels in order to reach that point.

    Fuck you, leave our gods-be-damned neurotransmitters alone!

  • Taking your meds is important, Citizen!

  • This could potentially destroy the international drug trade. I know it's not designed for created highs, but it could most certainly be used for that.

    • I guess some positive outcomes could be imagined, as long as they are under the control of the implantee.... If you want to get in shape
      Reduce reward for eating
      Increase reward for exercise

      Unfortunately though its hard to see how people would use this with moderation, lots of people killing themselves trying to become elite athletes, musicians and academics.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @04:03PM (#51778187)

    ... point out the obvious problems with this. But I feel strangely at ease with the whole concept.

  • by TheNarrator ( 200498 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @04:25PM (#51778293)

    I hate to break it to you guys, but this kind of thing is real mind control, and we'll even like it. Brain chemistry IS literally reality. It's where the rubber hits the road. We'll put these implants in people and ask them if they are happy with the chip and they'll say they are if the chip generates dopamine for them.

    I can see a future where we put people in solitary confinement in a box that they can't stand up in and as long as they get the dopamine from their chip they'll prefer it there vs anywhere else. We'll even call it humane.

  • Finally! Now Foxconn can take down those suicide nets.
  • my friend Dr. Peter Breggin says all these implants are doing is lobotomizing the brain. there isn't anybody who will seriously want to use these devices, especially by force, if they value their brains integrity. the same issue applies to pharmaceutical drugs.

    our government tests implants on people in the 1960s on, and they were banned in Kaimowitz versus Michigan [breggin.com] as a 1st amendment violation in the 1970s because they impaired a persons ability to generate free speech. the court rules citizens didn't even

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      On the flip side, life imprisonment and the death penalty. So tame a wild individual or lock them up or kill them. So breaking into someone's house, assaulting people, kidnapping them at gun point and locking them up in a cage until demands are met, are also bad but not so bad when it was the police acting with a search warrant based upon substantive evidence, yet to be proven, of criminal activity. So post prosecution and substation of evidence, a new kind of home detention and pacification. Not to say th

    • Your brain has already been lobotomised, that much is clear.

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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