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Before you close this, I'm actually serious. Could somebody, in theory, have conked me out behind a Chiles, cirucular-sawed my brain out, and plugged me up to a machine capable of brain simulation?

The simulator would be responsible for vorating the tables of signal from the "outside world" and feeding into the simulation. The numbers are crunched, computer-style, and output back to the body, itself its own system unnecessary of simulation.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please don't close for being to vague!

  • I suppose this is technically on-topic. I'll give it a shot. – forest Nov 30 '18 at 4:32
  • This is a really cool question! – securityOrange Nov 30 '18 at 13:50
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    The surviving documentation regarding MKULTRA may be of interest to you. The whole thing was essentially an attempt at developing a means of hacking people's minds, albeit a somewhat low-tech one by today's standards. I would also refer you to The Matrix and Sword Art Online, both of those show what kind of technology would be required to do the type of thing you're talking about, and cover some of the philosophical aspects of your question. – Austin Hemmelgarn Nov 30 '18 at 19:33
  • @AustinHemmelgarn Except MKULTRA was a failure and ended up only traumatizing people. – forest Dec 1 '18 at 2:29
  • @forest I never said it was a successful attempt, just that it was an attempt. It's also one of the only known attempts that has any publicly available documentation, so while It may have been a failure, it's about all we've got with respect to well funded research in the area. – Austin Hemmelgarn Dec 1 '18 at 14:26

No one has the technology to do so, nor do we have even close to a sufficient understanding of computational neuroscience to do such a thing. We barely understand the basic way information is encoded in neural transmissions. There is absolutely no way anyone could "hack" your brain in the manner you describe with contemporary technology. While it would be possible in theory (after all, the brain is equivalent to a Turing-machine), there is no way it could actually be done today.

Note that social engineering is still possible, which might be considered brain hacking, but it is nothing more than being really convincing and tricking people into doing things they otherwise wouldn't. It alter your state of consciousness nor tamper with or directly read out your memories.

As for the philosophical implications of such a thought experiment, they are off-topic for this site, so I won't be going into them. Neurophenomenology is not part of information security.

  • I'd like to add a link to this, I know patents can be found for a lot of weird stuff; but this one jumped to mind when reading the question :-) "Neurological data can be gathered through a variety of techniques. One non-invasive technique is electroencephalography (EEG), which involves the placement of electrodes along the scalp of a user or subject to measure voltage." patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/… – Nomad Nov 30 '18 at 8:30
  • @Nomad An EEG probe gives you the sum of the activity of millions of cortical neurons in that general area. Trying to understand the mind with EEG is like trying to understand the habits of individual people by sampling the average light of an entire country from the upper atmosphere. – forest Nov 30 '18 at 8:40
  • Yeah, we're certainly not there yet, not even close, and it's just a patent. But technically EEG can be used to see what centers of our brain are being stimulated. (e.g. high activity in nucleus accumbens indicates release of dopamine, which means you're happy with what you're seeing and this is possible with current technology). It's not hooking up and breaking in literally, but it's eavesdropping... in a way. – Nomad Nov 30 '18 at 8:46
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    @Nomad True, and fMRI machines can tell with an even higher precision what you are thinking (to a limited extent, like roughly what you are hearing, or even what number you are thinking of). – forest Nov 30 '18 at 9:04
  • Nice question and I want to add this : Scientists remotely hacked a brain, controlling body movements (of a mouse) the paper "Magnetothermal genetic deep brain stimulation of motor behaviors in awake, freely moving mice" is quite freaking elifesciences.org/articles/27069 – Soufiane Tahiri Nov 30 '18 at 16:14

Theorically, everything is vibrating. We don't have an RJ45 access to our brain but we could maybe alter it with concentrated waves, modifying by this way the state of atoms and cells, so that it changes your brain connections, your perceptions and your thinking. Imagine if we could suppress hate feeling and increase love... no more war on earth !

ps: sorry I can't comment yet, don't know if this is relevant enough to be an answer.

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    I... what? Vibrations has nothing to do with this, and we could not influence the brain just by sending vibrations. I think you need to read up a bit more on your physics. – forest Dec 1 '18 at 2:31
  • Try to put your head in a microwave then and see what happens... Of course yes waves can influence the brain. – T. Rode Dec 1 '18 at 18:35
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    We already know what happens, and no it does not influence your brain. In fact, it won't even reach your brain as it only penetrates a few millimeters. It will, however, give you burns down to your dermis. – forest Dec 2 '18 at 2:32

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