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Obama' Brain Mapping Initiative and DARPA

This week, President Obama announced his new brain mapping initiative -- $100 million to get started on a large-scale project to map the entirety of the human brain, $50 million of which is reportedly going to DARPA.  What is DARPA? Why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of course.  The government is touting this as a way to combat Alzheimer's but since when does the American military care about that?  According to DARPA, it's in the national security interest to know exactly how the brain works.  Some worry -- including some neuroscientists -- that the actual goal is mind control.  

Here are some links:



"Like all potentially powerful new technologies, this research can lead to societal questions about its use, said DARPA, adding that is also plans to engage a broad set of experts to explore the issues."
- http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/28832?c=disaster_preparedness_emergency_...

"The paper — entitled “The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics” — includes predictions of the development of “techniques for wireless, noninvasive readout of the activity of neuronal populations.” In simpler terms, this research would allow those in control of the discoveries gleaned from this program to wirelessly access and control the brains of target populations."
- http://thenewamerican.com/tech/computers/item/14980-president-obama-want...

"There are also potential ethical ramifications of the BAM Project that will arise if this technology moves as swiftly as genomics has in the last years. These include issues of mind-control, discrimination, health disparities, unintended short- and long-term toxicities, and other consequences. Well in advance, the scientific community must be proactive..."
- http://download.cell.com/neuron/pdf/PIIS0896627312005181.pdf

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Not the First Time Around This Track, Sadly....

I have yet to read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, but I did watch the video the other day.
It starts with a Canadian brain researcher who was funded by the CIA, I believe. His hypothesis was that one could wipe the brain clean with electric shocks and build a new personality from the ground up - starting with adults. He was later sued by former subjects who their case against him.


This sounds like a possible return to that same or similar ground. It is a frightening thought that our government would go down this road, but given what we saw out of the Bush administration, hardly a surprise.


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