Fiction predicts Science
This past month, there was a giant development in science. Once again, technology has caught up to what we thought was only imaginable. For the first time in history, a quadriplegic recovered mobility in one of his hands thanks to neuroprosthetics, which in this case, is the superhero combination of an implanted brain-chip and a sleeve made of electric bands.
Ian Burkhart, a 24-year-old American man, is paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury that was caused from a diving accident a few years ago. What at first seemed like a hopeless predicament for him, has become a positive example for science and humanity.
Mind over Body
Burkhart continues to live a life of passion and purpose—coaching high schoolers, inspiring others through public speaking, and working towards his undergrad degree—while living by the quote “Success, it’s what you do with what you got”.
Swiping a credit-card or playing a bit of Guitar Hero are two simple things Burkhart thought he would never be able to do again. He has been able to train his brain to exercise commands, which are later carried out using the implanted chip and electrode sleeve. According to scientists, in a few years, many disabled and paralyzed people could be dressing and feeding themselves, completely independently.
Work like a machine, or one day we could be controlled by one.
But, as always, with each new advancement comes challenges and opportunities for those who are looking to take advantage. Which is why it is critical that we protect the sensitive data that has yet to be compromised: the information that is stored in our brains.
Expert Alfonso Muñoz, from Criptored, explained how EEG headbands are vulnerable to the same attacks as your smartphone or your computer, stating that “any type of attack can happen because, really, you are not copying waves, you are copying bits”. The security-risks associated with the possibility of registering brain waves are alarming. Muñoz warns about the future of “mental surveillance” and “brain hacking”.
Imagine that someone, somewhere could read your mind… spy on your thoughts. This fear has already been proven in rigorous academic studies. When it comes to this on-going marathon between humans and technology, even with the good, that we stay wary of possible intruders. Like Muñoz said, “attacks have limitations“. However, “the truth is, the thought that it can be done, in a relatively simple way, is scary“.
Information from your brain can be removed without you knowing it