Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brave New World

How Brain Implants Could Make the Death Penalty Obsolete:

The death penalty is one of America’s most contentious issues. Critics complain that capital punishment is inhumane, pointing out how some executions have failed to quickly kill criminals (and instead tortured them). Supporters of the death penalty fire back saying capital punishment deters violent crime in society and serves justice to wronged victims. Complicating the matter is that political, ethnic, and religious lines don’t easily distinguish death penalty advocates from its critics.
In fact, only 31 states even allow capital punishment, so America is largely divided on the issue.

Regardless of the debate—which shows no signs of easing as we head into the 2016 elections—I think technology will change the entire conversation in the next 10 to 20 years, rendering many of the most potent issues obsolete.

For example, it’s likely we will have cranial implants in two decades time that will be able to send signals to our brains that manipulate our behaviors. Those implants will be able to control out-of-control tempers and violent actions—and maybe even unsavory thoughts. This type of tech raises the obvious question: Instead of killing someone who has committed a terrible crime, should we instead alter their brain and the way it functions to make them a better person?
Obvious? I thought this was an Onion article at first when I read about it on Twitter, but scarily enough, it isn't. There are people who really believe in this sh!t.
Some people may complain that implants are too invasive and extreme. But similar outcomes—especially in altering criminal’s minds to better fit society’s goals—may be accomplished by genetic engineering, nanotechnology, or even super drugs. In fact, many criminals are already given powerful drugs, which make them quite different that they might be without them. After all, some people—including myself—believe much violent crime is a version of mental disease.

With so much scientific possibility on the near-term horizon of changing someone’s criminal behavior and attitudes, the real debate society may end up having soon is not whether to execute people, but whether society should advocate for cerebral reconditioning of criminals—in other words, a lobotomy.
LOL. We used to do that kind of stuff back in the bad old days, which led to a series of laws forbidding such gruesome and barbaric treatment. The difference between shoving ice picks through your eyes to scramble your brains, and what this author is proposing, is negligible. There is, in fact, no difference.

The author is apparently a self-described "futurist".
Because I want to believe in the good of human beings, and I also think all human existence has some value, I’m on the lookout for ways to preserve life and maximize its usefulness in society.
And so why not have Big Brother come in with implants in our brains to monitor our every move...and every thought. Funny how the author tags the 8th amendment in his article, but neglects the 4th amendment. Wouldn't the government forcibly implanting technology into your cranium be a violation of the 4th? Is that really a way to "preserve life and maximize its usefulness in society"?
Inevitably, the future of crime will change because of technology. Therefore, we should also consider changing our views on the death penalty. The rehabilitation of criminals via coming radical technology, as well as my optimism for finding the good in people, has swayed me to gently come out publicly against the death penalty.

Whatever happens, we shouldn’t continue to spend billions of dollars of tax payer money to keep so many criminals in jail. The US prison system costs four times the entire public education system in America. To me, this financial fact is one of the greatest ongoing tragedies of American economics and society. We should use science and technology to rehabilitate and make criminals contribute positively to American life—then they may not be criminals anymore, but citizens adding to a brighter future for all of us.
[crickets chirping]

I really have nothing else, other than while the anti-death penalty crowd is always happy to have new members, I'm rather sure lobotomizing criminals via microchip isn't exactly the kind of "solution" to violent crime and punishment that most are looking for.

Or anyone, really.

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