neuroscience

All posts tagged neuroscience

My presentation will be discussing the effects of scientific advancements on dystopian literature, focusing on neuroscience elements and nanotechnology in the brain. The title of my paper is “Examining the Feasibility and Morality of Neuroscience Advancements in Modern Society & Literature,” and it will elaborate on whether specific technology is practical and ethical in human subjects. My research will then link this claim to modern society and dystopian literature, explaining how developments in science and technology influence the content and availability of dystopian fiction.

I am incredibly excited to present something that I am personally extremely passionate about – the human brain. The brain is one of the most complex parts of the body, acting as the center for all rational thought and control. Interestingly enough, scientists do not fully understand how it functions, which is why it remains source of mystery and possibility to the scientific community. For this reason, I look forward to educating those outside the field of neuroscience about how the brain really works, tying it in to something my audience can relate to. Specifically, I will be discussing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) new brain chips, which are silicone computer chips implanted into the brain to enhance memory and ability and to often help regain lost function. These chips are being tested in soldiers, to possibly enhance their combat skills. Is this possible on a larger scale? Is it even ethical? It’s questions like these that I will be analyzing and breaking down. I will then relate this new advancement to Feed, by M.T. Anderson. In this sci fi novel, brain chips are implemented in the society, with forms of communication, advertisement, and entertainment all centered on the “Feed.” I will show how scientific development might have influenced this kind of fiction, also showing how dystopian literature pitches a predicted future in which all of these developments are used in everyday life.

Works Cited

Devesh. “Want To Implant Or Remove Memories? Use DARPA Brain Chips.” Tech Live Info, CloudPeer Media Technologies, 23 June 2014, techliveinfo.com/want-implant-remove-memories-use-darpa-brain-chips/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.

Literature is simply a portrayal of ideas, thoughts, and emotions that are often reflective of the writer’s personal situation and the society in which the writer is in. Dystopian novels especially serve as this reflection of the modern world, in criticizing government, society, and human interest. Personally, I find this theme of incorporating societal concern and technological fear into dystopian literature incredibly interesting. Dystopian writers often focus their novels on predictions of future societies, explaining the possible destruction of current government and societal institutions, while criticizing the ethics in scientific advancements and technological development. Should innovation be criticized? Can scientific improvements be taken too far? Specifically, how do dystopian novels portray a prediction evolution of scientific research, and are these predictions practical, feasible, or realistic? This is the research question I intend to pursue, narrowing my search with a focus on nanotechnology in the human brain, incorporating technology and neuroscience.

The independent reading book that I will be incorporating into my research is Feed, by MT Anderson. I find the societal and government institutions in this book very interesting, as it ties in monopolistic corporations and societal consumerism with neuroscience technology. The book shows how intelligence becomes storable and how materialism becomes the focus of everyone’s lives. The book’s dystopia also raises the question of practicality: can the brain chips, or Feed, in this book become something of reality? I will be expanding on this thought, researching the neurobiology of the feasibility of implanting brain chips, as well as the ethical problems that could arise. I will also tie in societal concerns and economic problems that could accompany this scientific change, as well as shifts in government and public institutions. In addition, is scientific advancement heading towards this direction? Will human nature ever let technology get to the point of total control over daily life? These are the questions I would like to explore in my research. The topics and questions that I am not able to answer now include specifics of brain chip technology, damage done to the brain during implantation, and the plasticity of the brain around the chip itself.

 

Works Cited

Brown, Kristen V. “DARPA Is Testing Implanting Chips in Soldiers’ Brains.” Fusion, 28 Sept. 2015, fusion.net/story/204316/darpa-is-implanting-chips-in-soldiers-brains/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Anderson, MT. “Feed.” MT Anderson RSS, mt-anderson.com/blog/his-books/books-for-teens-and-adults/feed-2/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

 

Propaganda seems to play a large role in dystopian fiction, as it promotes specific societal standards, plays on social tensions, and relays messages over media to masses of people. In Feed, by MT Anderson, the role of propaganda dominates all others, as society and trends are controlled by the Feed, with implanted brain chips guiding every individual’s thoughts, opinions, and free time. In Anderson’s novel, a group of American corporations regulate and control all things relating to the feed: installation, fees, maintenance, qualitative material, and customer service. From an economic standpoint, this makes the Feed a monopoly, allowing it to charge above market prices and avoid innovation, since there is no competition. This creates a dependence on these corporations, since all business, social, and leisure activities are centered around this technology. The corporations behind the Feed are therefore incredibly powerful and influential, supplying the public with their main medium of communication. This then allows the Feed to display advertisements, images, and propaganda that guide their users to buy more and more from the Feed, making the technology a necessity in their society.

Brain chips are slowly emerging from a fictional impossibility to a realistic scientific endeavor. Does dystopian literature reflect and critique the possibility of this advancement in our modern world? (“Brain Chips”).

Anderson clearly illustrates that public opinion and societal trends are greatly controlled and influenced by the Feed, and specifically through the media that the Feed provides. Flashing advertisements pop up in the character’s minds when they reach any new destination. They’re constantly updated on sales, clothing trends, and TV show updates that pop up in their feeds. The customization of shopping also guides the individual towards what the Feed wants them to like, through advice from online helpers and visual stimulation on the network. All of these images, videos, and updates serve as propaganda that the Feed literally plants in the minds of their users, guiding them towards a specific outcome or sale. The Feed does not only serve as a way of communication between users, but also a way of control and communication between the user and the corporation.

This specific form of propaganda exemplifies the typical government/corporation totalitarian control that often occurs in dystopian fiction. For a non-democratic government system to work, all citizens and participants must consent to their government, or be forced to consent. The Feed serves as the media that subconsciously forces their customers to continue using their services, since the technology has become a social survival necessity. The Feed also reflects on our own modern world, serving as a critique of the rapid advancement of technology and how it will affect our intelligence, communication, and language. Anderson’s Feed is a sort of pessimistic prediction of how society will adapt to technological change, and how personal intelligence and personality may be wiped away.

Anderson’s “Feed” explored a technological advancement that impacted society, government, and individual rights, with propaganda as the center of the technology. “Feed” exemplifies how media can control, not only society, but individual minds. (ISawChannel).

Works Cited:

Anderson, Matthew Tobin. Feed. Candlewick, 2002.

“Brain Chips.” Information Stash, 1 Feb. 2017, www.informationstash.com/Blog/brain-chips.html

ISawChannel. Memory Brain Chip? Episode 13. ISawChannel.com. 19 Mar. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sKpjCyz8I8