Are chips in brains the next phase of advancement?

By Kaity Kempf | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

Reality is starting to look more and more like an episode of “Black Mirror” every day. But is it something that we should be scared of? Not necessarily.

Recently, many companies are investing in neurotechnological research, with many of them developing implantable brain machine interfaces (BMIs). You probably know about Elon Musk — billionaire, CEO of Tesla Motors, CEO of SpaceX, and that’s just the beginning of his many achievements. More recently, he is the co-founder of Neuralink.

Even though the company is just now gaining popularity, it was launched back in 2016. Neuralink’s initial goal was to create devices to treat serious life-threatening diseases in the short term. However, the company has evolved to much more than that, and it aims to eventually reach “human enhancement” or “transhumanism.” Since its start, the company has hired several famous neuroscientists to conduct research for Neuralink, and Musk expressed that 2022 will be the year the company starts its human trials.

So, what should one expect when thinking about undergoing the procedure to receive the implant? As I stated earlier, the chip’s goals are to enhance humans as a whole, whether that be physically or intellectually. In April 2021, Neuralink exhibited a monkey playing the game “Pong” with the Neuralink chip installed. Musk has also said that receiving the chip would not be a big surgical procedure but rather would be inserted through a vein or artery.

Unfortunately, the company, and many others similar to it, remains very secretive about its work, so it is hard to fully weigh out the pros and cons of receiving the implant. Still, it leaves us to wonder what each of us would do if presented with a choice to get the brain chip.

Under the right conditions, I would not mind getting the Neuralink chip installed. With that being said, the “right” conditions would be that the technology has undergone the right trials and been out for a few years — and whether I am a healthy individual at that time may sway my opinion even more. If one day I have a life-threatening disease or illness, and the Neuralink chip is the only way to seek any sort of cure, I will be sure to take my chances. At this time, though, with the technology not even out yet and with my health in good standing, I more than likely wouldn’t get it installed.

How about yourself? Are you excited about the new prospects of the metaverse, or would you rather play it safe in reality?

Kaity Kempf
Kaity Kempf is a senior from Temple, Texas. She is on her way to graduating with a major in journalism and concentration in advertising, as well as a minor in french. This is her third year working with LTVN, and first time being managing editor after years of reporting and anchoring. She also works with the local broadcast news station, KWTX News 10. She is excited to cover all things Baylor and close out her senior year with her team.