“Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” Is My New Safeword

One of the major problems I face as a science fiction author in the modern era is the fact that TECHNOLOGY KEEPS FREAKING CATCHING UP WITH ME! Seriously, science, slow down! Us creative types need a little time to imagine all the ways that the things you’re creating could go HORRIBLY WRONG. 

If you’ve read the blog that I used to post to the Half-Man website, then you've heard me complain about this before. Well, now I’m going to start complaining about here on Patreon instead. 

What set off this recurring rant this week is this article from the University of Washington - https://www.washington.edu/news/2016/12/05/no-peeking-humans-play-computer-game-using-only-direct-brain-stimulation/ 

To summarize, neural engineers (yes, that’s a thing) at UW have been experimenting with creating artificial sensory input through direct stimulation of the brain. And it’s working. 

Gonna let that sink in for a minute. 

(actual labratory footage)(not really)(well, maybe. how can we know what is real anymore?)

I can’t take credit for the Matrix connection here, the UW article brought it up first. Now if I started making Netrunner references….you would all know that I am a huge nerd. Which you probably already knew, so, moving on…

To be more specific, the recearchers at UW have been successfully teaching people to navigate artificial mazes based solely on simple input from a non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulator that tells the subject whether there is an obstacle in front of them or if their path is clear. And people can do it. They even get better at it over time. 

So basically, scientists are successfully giving people a sixth sense. 

What the hell, science!?! Can’t I have anything? 

Me: “Oh, I’ve got a great idea, I’m going to write a story about a cyborg who has sensors all over his body that detect objects around him and feed the information directly into his brain, so he can basically see in the dark, or behind him, or with his eyes closed!” 

Science: “Oh, yeah, that’s one of the applications we are developing this technology for, to give the visually impaired another way to navigate the world using this sixth sense.”

Me: “Fuck you. I mean, that’s really cool and could potentially help a lot of people, so keep working on it, but also fuck you.”

Is nothing purely fictional anymore? Once upon a time science fiction had the monopoly on cybernetic enhancements, but not anymore. Don’t even get me started on neurologically controlled prosthetic limbs. 

*humph* *grumble grumble*

Oh, well, at least artificial gravity and faster than light travel are still way out there. For now.

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