Now and then, I explore my old subscription emails to IEEE to find some nugget I may have missed out on. Recently, I ran across an article on prosthetic limbs, which was fascinating and talked about the progress in neuroscience with regards to enabling the sensation of touch in the mind of the prosthetic wearer. This led me to a couple of other articles. The first was of DARPA (the US governments military research arm) wanting mind-reading technology. The second was a Q&A session with Anders Sandberg in regards to the ethics of “upgrading” your brain. These articles are a testimony to the hope people have in technology solving their problems. However, the truth is, technology will never solve the underlying problem, and for the historically-aware, it would seem only dystopia is on the horizon. To understand why, we have to take into account historical trends, psychology, and legitimate ethics. But I’m not interested in solving the unsolvable. I’m interested in a better response to all this. In this article, I’d like to analyze the aforementioned articles and then provide my own positive response.
There has been a growing problem with honey bees dying off. The primary source of the problem isn’t pesticides as some might think (though that is a problem since it can apparently mess with hormones and make the bee lose its sense of direction), but a type of mite known as Varroa (also called “Vorroa” or “Varroa destructor”). The Irish Times reports: “the mites, in combination with other viruses, have killed off up to 30 per cent of Europe’s bees, and a whopping 85 per cent of Middle Eastern bee.” American bee keepers haven’t escaped either; an estimated third of American bees have been lost to the mite.