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We are now responsible for the course of evolution. Or, more accurately, a small number of scientists has the divine power to alter biology, and we will all pay the price for it in some way. The U.S. government is investing enormous sums of money into learning about genetics and the human brain, and ultimately, how to control those systems.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) ramped up an ongoing study that was began eight years ago with the launch of its “BRAIN 2.0” initiative (Brain Research via Advancing Innovative Neurotechnology) last week. The scope and complexity of BRAIN 2.0, which provides $600 million to comprehensively map our 86 billion neurons and their uncounted connections, are comparable to that of the Human Genome Project. The project is anticipated to cost $5 billion in total.
Theoretically, once this accurate brain atlas has been built in silico, digital tools may be used to directly modify neural function. John Ngai, the director of the BRAIN Initiative, demonstrates an unsettling fixation on this approach.
Ngai recently spoke with Stat News and mentioned two specific outcomes of his ongoing neuro-mapping work. The first is a cutting-edge brain-computer interface that was implanted at the University of California, San Francisco last year and enables amazing thought-to-text communication. The other is a significant advance in deep brain stimulation at Baylor University, which involves implanting electrodes to change behaviour and mood in order to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where “man-computer symbiosis” has long been a paradigm, shares Ngai’s fixation with cyborgs. The defence agency’s participation in the BRAIN Initiative is publicly known and open. However, our greatest military minds also have a strong interest in human enhancement, in addition to the NIH’s stated goal of healing.
“DARPA has been a pioneer in brain-machine interface technology since the 1970s, but we began investing heavily in the early 2000s,” boasted Justin Sanchez, the director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office. “We’ve laid the groundwork for a future in which advanced brain interface technologies will transform how people live and work.”
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In certain cases, this transformation uses non-invasive technology like wearable neuro-bands or skull caps in addition to brain implants. The DARPA programme manager Phillip Alvelda said, “Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics.” The program’s objectives include “Bridging the Bio-Electronic Divide” and developing a “High-Resolution, Implantable Neural Interface.”
If BRAIN 2.0’s atlas is effective, it will be an essential link across this “bio-electronic divide.” The area of the brain will be mapped and available for conquest.
‘The Century of Engineered Biology’
This insane effort to change fundamental biology goes all the way down to the genome. The White House said two weeks ago that $2 billion will be used by the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative to reshape life as we know it. “We need to develop genetic engineering technologies and techniques,” the executive order reads, “to be able to write circuitry for cells and predictably programme biology in the same way in which we write software and programme computers.” The Advanced Research Initiatives Agency for Health (ARPA-H) will receive an additional $1 billion, and a total of $6.5 billion has been proposed for its “high-risk, high-reward” projects.
Renee Wegrzyn, the new agency’s first director, informed her coworkers on Wednesday that people can now change their DNA at will. But because gene-editing technologies like CRISPR have become so accessible and affordable, she said that there is a serious risk to humankind from accidental pathogens or deliberate bioweapons.
“We’re ushering in the century of engineered biology,” Wegrzyn declared with a weird fake-smile, “whether it’s through gene-editing, or it’s through engineering of living medicines that will be in our gut — or in soil to promote fertilization and growth, especially as we face challenges like climate change.”
What more is in store for us in this “century of engineered biology”? Wegrzyn, a former programme manager for DARPA, predicts that this transformation will result in “human-machine convergence” and the development of “Human 2.0.”
“These are things that are somewhere on the horizon,” she told the Long Now Foundation in 2017, “that genome engineering and gene-editing will be a part of. So how do we make sure we can pursue this future in a safe manner?”
Wegrzyn, carrying the transhumanist banner, praised “defensive enhancement,” using mass vaccination as an example to strengthen our immune systems. Additionally, she talked about “offensive enhancement,” which includes changes to people’s “performance” and “cognitive state.”
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She sneered, “It’s evolution on steroids, and now it’s in our control.” With a strange chuckle, she assured the audience that “we’re solidly on the defensive side.” If that’s the case, her DARPA projects were outliers at the agency.
It’s simple to see a gloomy future of progressively insane “safe and effective” campaigns when thinking about that culture of radical enhancement (pdf below) combined with the vaccine-obsessed NIH. The founding of ARPA-H seems to be a formal union between the biomedical establishment and the military-industrial complex, with BRAIN 2.0 acting as the stepchild holding the wedding band.
Federally Funded Transhumanism
For good reason, many sceptics, including myself, refer to this officially supported transhumanism. The connection is clear. The original transhumanist Max More declared humanity’s emancipation from our natural inheritance in his 1999 essay “Letter to Mother Nature“:
THROUGH GENETIC ALTERATIONS, CELLULAR MANIPULATIONS, SYNTHETIC ORGANS, AND ANY NECESSARY MEANS, WE WILL ENDOW OURSELVES WITH ENDURING VITALITY AND REMOVE OUR EXPIRATION DATE. … NOT CONTENT WITH THAT, WE WILL SEEK COMPLETE CHOICE OF OUR BODILY FORM AND FUNCTION, REFINING AND AUGMENTING OUR PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL CAPABILITIES BEYOND ANY HUMAN IN HISTORY. … WHILE WE PURSUE MASTERY OF OUR OWN BIOCHEMISTRY, WE WILL INCREASINGLY INTEGRATE OUR ADVANCING TECHNOLOGIES INTO OUR SELVES.
We’ve entered a weird period where modifying human brains and bodies, as well as the underlying DNA, may soon be as commonplace as nose jobs and genetically modified tomatoes are right now. Your tax money are providing the groundwork for the essential decision to transition from healing to enhancement, which is just around the corner.
Selective abortions and smartphone symbiosis are current issues. Designer infants and wearable brain-computer interfaces will be the rage tomorrow. Renee Wegrzyn and John Ngai, to their credit, have both stated that we need public discussions on how far we go with these technologies. Trans children, offensive metaverse ads, and vaccine requirements have been all we’ve seen so far.
It’s crucial that you consider where we are right now and the direction that these efforts to alter DNA and irradiate brains are taking. We must insist on creating our own future plans, to the extent that our voices are heard, since irresponsible technocrats are already working on them, regardless of our opinions.
Article cross-posted from Great Game India.