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Mind control may not be as unrealistic as people think

  1. Aug 28, 2012 #1
    Most nervous systems use electrical signals from the brain to control the body. Could one not theoretically interface a computer with the first vertebra to override commands from the brain, and control the body? I'm sure that biologists do not yet understand the nervous system enough to preform this, but surely it is a realistic possibility in the near future.

    It wouldn't be mind control, it would be body control, but it would have the same effect.
     
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  3. Aug 28, 2012 #2
    There are some modern researchers working on mind control using magnetic fields. Experiments show that strong magnetic fields can be used to cause hallucinations or to influence decisions. I think I first saw this on an episode of NOVA a year or so ago.
     
  4. Aug 28, 2012 #3

    Ryan_m_b

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    TMS research deals a lot with this. To the OP: yes in theory one could control the action potentials of nerve cells in the CNS but as you deduced this is far in advance of what we know how to do.

    EDIT: actually on second thought just controlling the action potentials coming in and out of the brain wouldn't be enough for total control. Other forms of signalling (i.e. endocrine) would slip by your control.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  5. Aug 28, 2012 #4

    Pythagorean

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    There's a much easier, more successful form of mind control occurring every day, developed by Edward Bernays in the early 20th century.

    It was called propaganda at first; but when Bernays came to the US, the term had fallen out of favor so he started using the term "public relations". If you do some research on Bernays, you might be surprised how much of the US (from marketing to politics) has been influenced by him.
     
  6. Aug 29, 2012 #5
    lol oh snap!

    Clearly outside the context of the OP, but pretty funny.

    Do you happen to watch "Newsroom"? :smile:

    Mind control I think implies "bypassing" the conscious in the OPs context.
     
  7. Aug 29, 2012 #6

    Ryan_m_b

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    Actually I think the OP is talking about body control.
     
  8. Aug 29, 2012 #7
    do you know what controls the body? That'd be mind control. This is semantics right. Should we call it nervous system control, or neuron control? In either case it's not "conscious thought control".
     
  9. Aug 29, 2012 #8

    Pythagorean

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    I would argue that propaganda both bypasses consciousness (that was actually Bernays' platform: utilizing his uncle Freud's theories of subconscious human desire) AND controls the body (the body does the bidding of the agent, who is more concerned now, with pursuing private desires than contributing to a strong society).

    The only difference is that Bernays used an audio/visual interface to send signals to the brain rather than a conducting wire or magnetic field; you might even argue visuals are a very precise electromagnetic field interacting with our brain's most sensitive electromagnetic detector (the eyes).

    An excellent documentary: "Century of the Self"
     
  10. Aug 29, 2012 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    It's not as semantically pedantic as that. The OP is talking about controlling the outputs of the brain, not necessarily controlling the brain itself.
     
  11. Aug 29, 2012 #10

    Pythagorean

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    Yeah, I think the OP is talking about micro-control: controlling the brain by knowing how neurons encode information. With propaganda, you don't need to know about neural coding, just have an intuition for associative psychology and tie people's desires and fears to irrational things.
     
  12. Aug 29, 2012 #11
    The OP is talking about bypassing the brain and hijacking a person's body to use it as a robot. I don't think this will happen because it would be much easier to build a non-organic robot body from scratch than it would be to electronically control an organic one.
     
  13. Aug 29, 2012 #12
    I think that the difference between propaganda and mind control would be that propaganda only influences a person's decisions, as opposed to making them.
     
  14. Sep 2, 2012 #13
    controlling the body as in peripheral NS is easy. It's just a bunch muscles after all. Oh and sensory
     
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