In George Orwell’s famous dystopian masterpiece published in 1949, titled Nineteen Eighty-Four (often written as 1984), he predicted a future where “nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull.” Now, in 2018, even the space in your own mind is vulnerable to being invaded, prodded, and manipulated.
What exactly is cognitive liberty? Wikipedia defines it as the “right to mental self-determination,” and “the freedom of an individual to control his or her own mental processes, cognition, and consciousness.” Basically, freedom of thought.
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According to Wikipedia, the term “cognitive liberty” was coined by neuroethicist, Dr. Wrye Sententia, and legal theorist and lawyer, Richard Glen Boire, founders and directors of the non-profit Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics. Sententia and Biore define cognitive liberty as “the right of each individual to think independently and autonomously, to use the full power of his or her mind, and to engage in multiple modes of thought.”
Losing Control of our Cognitive Ability
What happens when our fundamental right to think what we want and for our inner thoughts to remain private, unchanged and organic is no longer considered a right? To what length will this be prostituted out and our humanity be robbed from us under the guise of developing new technologies?
The ability to basically re-wire the brain and sever connections (See more information about Neuroplasticity) that trigger certain emotional responses strips us of our humanity – what makes us human.
When your true emotions are no longer a natural response to outside stimuli, what you’re left with is artificially induced reactions that mimic the cold machines that have the ability to control your inner-most thoughts and feelings. A hijacking of human emotion and free will.
Human rights will have to evolve and begin including rights to mental privacy, where one would be protected from unconsented intrusion by third parties who could potentially collect and use data, against your will.
Big Tech and The Fight For Your Mind
Big Tech constantly seeks to make interfaces more user friendly and seeks to eventually connect your brain to their platforms directly. Take Facebook as an example. In 2017, Facebook announced their plan to create the first brain-computer speech-to-text interface that would translate your thoughts directly from your brain’s signals onto a computer screen–no need for those pesky fingers or talk-to-text apps to communicate with others. The potential of such systems to be hacked is off the scale.
Advances in Neurotechnology
As neurotechnology continues to advance, it is imperative that we take a long, hard look at our current human rights and decide to what extent we are willing to give up the one thing that up until now was sacred – our own personal thoughts – whether that’s due to medical reasons, new technological advancements that could make the keyboard and microphone obsolete, or for more sinister uses where we essentially open Pandora’s Box.
Where would our rights begin and end when protecting our thoughts?
Take note!!! This article was written FOUR years ago - maybe they can see into the future!
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