iPlant Brain Implant Advocated For Self-Improvement

The iPlant is a type of brain implant advocated as a means of programming yourself. The idea is that an iPlant would be similar to today's deep brain stimulation implants. The iPlant would electronically regulate the release of monoamines in the brain. Monoamines effectively determine motivation, mood, learning and creativity.

This kind of implant has been used in animal research since 1991 to force rats to repeat particular behaviors, for example, to run on treadmills.

Christopher Harris. is a neuroscientist at the university of Sussex, and is advocating the development of this kind of device.

The neuroanatomy of reward is very well known. A small group of nerve cells in the midbrain, when stimulated, release dopamine throughout the entire prefrontal cortex, which is our decision generator. Deep brain stimulation to control reward would be very similar to its application against Parkinsonís disease, in which dopamine signalling is impaired, leading to symptoms of the motor system. Thus, the technology is tried and tested in humans.

The human motivational system has been shaped over millions of years of evolution to a degree of robustness, which is why we find it so difficult to change. Sweet food is an instant reward for most people, as are alcohol and many drugs. The modern society has developed spectacular shortcuts to dopamine release, with the unfortunate effect of making many peopleís lives less functional. Obesity and addiction are long-term scourges caused by the inability to resist short-term dopamine stimulation. Here is a technology that could change all that.
(From Evolving Ideas)

Apparently, there is already a product that is very similar to the iPlant, and it has been approved for use by the FDA.

Reclaim, a deep brain stimulation (DBS) implant that improves behaviour and mood by modulating activity in the human reward system (nucleus accumbens) was FDA approved for distribution in the US in February of 2009. Researchers who apply DBS to the human reward system are aware that the procedure could generate pleasurable, rewarding brain stimulation (RBS), but avoid this by using stimulation parameters different from those applied in animal experiments involving RBS.
(From iPlant news)

Naturally, science fiction writers have already explored some of the negative consequences of a device that allows an external person to alter or deeply influence someone else's brain chemistry. This example is from Ringworld Engineers regarding the use of a tasp, an external device which stimulates deep pleasure within the brain.

And he owed Halrloprillalar. They had needed her help, and Nessus had used a puppeteer's peculiar brand of force on her. Nessus had conditioned her with a tasp. Louis had let him do it.

Philip K. Dick fans will of course be reminded of the Penfield Wave transmitter, the heart of the mood organ.

Offhand, I can't think of an example of a science fictional character using an implant to positively change his or her or its own behavior. Read more about the iPlant via Futurismic. Thanks to Winchell Chung for pointing this one out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/8/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.