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An iPlant is an idea for a new kind of brain implant. It would regulate the release of monoamines in the brain, thus giving its user increased control over his or her motivation, mood, learning and creativity. Brain implants like this have been available for non-human animals for decades: for instance, they've been used to motivate rats to do heavy exercise and learn new behaviors (see references). The electronics and surgical procedures required for human application already exist in the form of so called deep brain stimulation treatments for movement disorders (see implant technology).

The way these implants work is they sit in the region of the brain that generates dopamine, and whenever the animal does something you want it to do you stimulate that region. This releases dopamine all over the brain, which is really rewarding to the animal and makes it want to repeat whatever it was it just did.

So if you had an iPlant you could use it to motivate yourself to practise languages by using language tutorials, or to motivate yourself to use cancer research or simply to use exercise equipment. The thing is it would take effort out of the equation: the iPlant would help you do things you wish you did but normally can't find the motivation to do.

The electronics and surgical equipment that this would require have actually already been developed; they're used to treat Parkinson's disease. So all that we really need to do is to realign them slightly to target this dopamine-generating region.

Visit www.iPlant.eu for more information.
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http://www.iPlant.eu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL8-MpHYfcU
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On march 03 2008
Navras
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by Navras, on March 03 2008:
...the name had me expecting some sort of nano-engineered, post-singularity plant :>

http://www.thoughtware.tv/videos/show/47

by Andres, on March 04 2008:
Human enhancement via brain implant research should most definitely move forward. The goal should be to empower the individual, to promote transhumanity while protecting free will. Implementing safe-guards for securing the future users of such a technology against potential misuse, by those who'd use it for harm, will be very important.

This is where those wary of the security aspects of this emerging technology could function as a counter-weight. Through the noise, both potential benefits as well as serious issues we may or may not have been aware of could become clearer, studied and addressed. People with very different backgrounds could become key players in the development of this technology, for example, potential benefits or dangers could be identified by optimists as well as hard-core technology pessimists, even some who might appear to be a little crazy (both which should be handled with care). I think, however, that taking time to listen to arguments on various sides of an issue that could be important, will be.


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