October 26, 2005

From My Lips To Cyberdyne's Ears

Remember a couple of days ago, when I said that pretty soon the robots would have a kill switch for us? Well, we just built it:

ATSUGI, Japan (AP) -- We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

. . .

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT [Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, Japan's top telephone company] research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head -- either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation -- essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced -- mistakenly -- that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

And you can tell these guys don't get out much:

And it may also help people dodge oncoming cars or direct a rescue worker in a dark tunnel, NTT researchers say. They maintain that the point is not to control people against their will.
News flash, Pointdexter-san: it may not be your point, but it will sure as hell be SOMEBODY'S point! Normally I love hearing about this kind of thing - the more we figure out about how the brain works, the better off we'll be, I think - but there's something about this that really unnerves me.

Posted by Chris at October 26, 2005 10:07 AM


look up ELF weapons. extremely low frequency. scary shit the soviets proposed all stoppage on research before the double ought. our diplomats didn't even know what they were at the time.

Posted by: mlah at October 26, 2005 03:57 PM