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Like mice, humans might soon have their brains controlled externally

Scientists have succeeded in remotely controlling the movements of mice. If human beings are next, how can we deal with the moral and ethical implications of this discovery?

The legendary John Steinbeck took the title of his most famous novella from Robert Burnss poem “To a Mouse“:

“I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion / Has broken Nature’s social union, / And justifies that ill opinion, / Which makes thee startle, / At me, thy poor, earth-born companion, / And fellow-mortal! // The best laid schemes of Mice and Men / Gang aft agley, / And leave us nought but grief and pain, / For promised joy!” (“Agley” is a Scottish word for “awry, wrong.”)

The situation described in these lines is that of a human being apologizing to a mouse for breaking “nature’s social union”due to his thirst for domination over the natural world, which justifies the mouse’s fear of humans and poor opinion of them. The human also concedes that, even if his scheme was well-meant, it turned ugly, causing nothing but grief. But can we imagine the same scene taking place between the human scientist and the mouse on which he performed the following experiment?

 

 

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