Navigating the ethical landscape of neural implants and biotechnology

Navigating the ethical landscape of neural implants and biotechnology

Navigating the ethical landscape of neural implants and biotechnology
Privacy advocates worry that implanting chips in humans could lead to unprecedented levels of surveillance. (Shutterstock image)
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In the bustling metropolis of Techville, where Silicon Valley meets the cityscape, the latest buzz is not about the newest iPhone or the most advanced electric car. No, dear citizens, it is about something far more intricate and potentially invasive: The ethics of artificial intelligence.

Enter Ms. Sophie Smart, the quintessential Techville resident, armed with a keen intellect, a penchant for coffee, and concerns aplenty. As she navigates the city’s labyrinthine streets, her musings on the intersection of technology and morality have become the stuff of legend.

“I mean, sure, AI is all well and good until it starts deciding what burger I should order for dinner,” Sophie quips, her brow furrowing in mock seriousness. “But when we start talking about implanting chips in humans and animals, well, that’s when things get dicey.”

And dicey they have become, indeed. With advancements in neural implants and biotechnology, the prospect of enhancing cognitive abilities or even interfacing directly with the digital realm is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

But as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster in the process.”

The ethical implications of such technologies are as vast and complex as the digital networks they inhabit. On one hand, proponents argue that chip implants could revolutionize health care, allowing for real-time monitoring of vital signs and immediate intervention in case of emergency.

“It’s all about efficiency,” says Dr. Max Liver, a leading researcher in the field of neuroinformatics. “With chip implants, we could potentially save countless lives by detecting health issues before they become critical.”

But for every potential benefit, there is a lurking shadow of concern. Privacy advocates worry that implanting chips in humans could lead to unprecedented levels of surveillance, with every thought and action monitored and analyzed by unseen algorithms.

The prospect of enhancing cognitive abilities or even interfacing directly with the digital realm is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

Rafael Hernandez de Santiago

“I don’t know about you, but the idea of some AI snooping around in my brain gives me the heebie-jeebies,” Sophie remarks, shuddering theatrically. “I value my privacy, thank you very much.”

And then there is the question of equality. As philosopher John Stuart Mill famously opined: “The worth of a state, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it.” Will chip implants create a new class of enhanced humans, leaving the rest of us mere mortals in the dust?

“It’s like the Olympics, but for brains,” Sophie says, a wry smile playing at the corners of her lips. “Pretty soon, we’ll have gold, silver, and bronze medals for cognitive performance.”

But it is not just humans who stand to benefit — or suffer — from the rise of AI and chip implants. Animal rights activists have raised concerns about the potential exploitation of our furry and feathered friends in the name of scientific progress.

Indeed, the prospect of implanting chips in animals raises a host of ethical dilemmas. While some argue that such technology could help track and protect endangered species, others fear that it could be used to control and manipulate animal behavior for human gain.

“It’s a slippery slope,” Sophie notes, her tone turning serious. “We have to tread carefully and consider the consequences of our actions, both for humans and for the creatures who share our world.”

As the sun sets over the glittering skyline of Techville, one thing is clear: The debate over AI and ethics is far from over. Whether we embrace the future with open arms, or approach it with caution and skepticism, one thing remains certain: The chips are down and the stakes have never been higher.

Rafael Hernandez de Santiago, viscount of Espes, is a Spanish national residing in Saudi Arabia and working at the Gulf Research Center.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view

Kamala Harris meets with former Israeli hostage who described being sexually assaulted in Gaza

Kamala Harris meets with former Israeli hostage who described being sexually assaulted in Gaza
Updated 10 min 10 sec ago
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Kamala Harris meets with former Israeli hostage who described being sexually assaulted in Gaza

Kamala Harris meets with former Israeli hostage who described being sexually assaulted in Gaza
  • Harris on Monday urged Hamas to accept a US-backed ceasefire proposal

WASHINGTON: Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday met with an Israeli lawyer who has publicly described being sexually assaulted while held hostage in Gaza, and said the story left her fearing more such accounts “will only increase as more hostages are released.”
Harris hosted an event highlighting efforts to reduce conflict-related sexual violence around the world and said she’d spoken with Amit Soussana, who was abducted from her home when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
Soussana detailed for The New York Times being sexually assaulted while held in Gaza, before she was released, along with a group of other hostages, during a November ceasefire that briefly suspended fighting between Israel and Hamas.
Harris said that after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, “I saw images of bloody Israeli women abducted.”
“Then it came to light that Hamas committed rape and gang rape at the Nova music festival,” the vice president said, referring to the Tribe of Nova music that was overrun by Hamas militants. “And women’s bodies were found naked from the waist down, hands tied behind their back and shot in the head.”
Such accounts of atrocities are not new, but Harris detailing accusations of sexual violence surrounding the Israel-Hamas war comes as the Biden administration is working to broker another ceasefire to pause the fighting in Gaza.
Harris on Monday urged Hamas to accept a US-backed ceasefire proposal. She also said she heard stories from former Israeli hostages about what they “witnessed and heard in captivity,” and spoke with Soussana, who the vice president said “has bravely come forward with her account of sexual violence while she was held captive by Hamas.”
“These testimonies, I fear, will only increase as more hostages are released,” Harris said. “We cannot look away. And we will not be silent.”
Hamas has denied sexually assaulting people during the Oct. 7, 2024, attack, or the hostages it has held since, and false reports of abuse have sometimes helped fueled the conflict between the militant group and Israel.
But a United Nations report released in March found “reasonable grounds” to believe Hamas committed rape, “sexualized torture,” and other cruel and inhumane treatment of women during its Oct. 7, 2024, attack. The same report found there are “reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may be ongoing.”
The vice president also said her “heart breaks for all these survivors and their families, and for all the pain and suffering over the last eight months in Israel and in Gaza.”
Harris said “sexual violence has been a tactic of war since ancient times,” though she noted that the international community has made recent progress recognizing it “as an attack on peace, stability and human rights.”
She said that the Biden administration had worked to prevent such violence by doing things like providing rape kits and heath care for survivors and helping to train militaries and back international peacekeepers. The US has also imposed economic sanctions on individuals associated with conflicts in places like Iraq, Sudan and the Central African Republic.
“It’s not enough. The crimes persist and, globally, our system of accountability remains inadequate,” Harris said. “More must be done.”


White House slams ‘cheapfake’ clips portraying Biden ‘freezing’

White House slams ‘cheapfake’ clips portraying Biden ‘freezing’
Updated 34 min 32 sec ago
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White House slams ‘cheapfake’ clips portraying Biden ‘freezing’

White House slams ‘cheapfake’ clips portraying Biden ‘freezing’
  • In one video, an apparently disoriented Biden appears to wander away from fellow world leaders while watching a skydiving display during a G7 summit in Italy last week

WASHINGTON: The White House on Monday criticized Republicans for spreading videos purported to show President Joe Biden’s mental and physical decline, saying the images had been deceptively cut and manipulated.
“It tells you everything that we need to know about how desperate Republicans are here,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, branding the clips as “cheapfake” videos.
Outlets including the New York Post and an official Republican social media account have shared several seemingly damning short videos in recent days of the 81-year-old president.
In one video, an apparently disoriented Biden appears to wander away from fellow world leaders while watching a skydiving display during a G7 summit in Italy last week.
But Jean-Pierre said the footage was misleadingly edited, and Biden instead was moving to give a thumbs up to the parachutists.
“This was widely fact checked ... including by conservative media,” she said at a media briefing, adding “if you run that tape a little bit longer than you’d see ... what was happening.”
Earlier in the week NBC also debunked the claim, posting footage caught by its own cameras from another angle online which showed Biden interacting with the parachutists just a few feet away.
Another widely-shared clip was a close-up shot of Biden standing still as world leaders danced close to him during a concert at the White House — which opponents said showed a state of confusion.
“The president stood there listening to the music, and he didn’t dance. Excuse me. I did not know not dancing was (...) a health issue,” Jean-Pierre said of the video.
And on the weekend, the New York Post again shared a video appearing to show Biden getting lost on stage during a fundraising event in California, before being pointed to an exit by former president Barack Obama.
Andrew Bates, another White House spokesman, said on X that Biden was instead waiting on the stage to appreciate the applause from his supporters.
And Eric Schultz, a senior Obama adviser, posted a link to the Post article on X, writing: “this did not happen.”
Biden’s main rival in the November election, Republican Donald Trump, has made Biden’s advancing age one of his main campaign rallying points, trying to position himself as an energetic alternative — despite being, at 78, just three years younger.
Whoever wins the vote will set a new age record.
Biden is already the oldest man to hold the office and would continue to be so, while if Trump wins, he would become the oldest ever at an inauguration.
 

 


Actor Ian McKellen, 85, is in ‘good spirits’ and expected to recover from fall off stage in London

Actor Ian McKellen, 85, is in ‘good spirits’ and expected to recover from fall off stage in London
Updated 22 min 54 sec ago
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Actor Ian McKellen, 85, is in ‘good spirits’ and expected to recover from fall off stage in London

Actor Ian McKellen, 85, is in ‘good spirits’ and expected to recover from fall off stage in London
  • The theater was evacuated and the play was canceled as medics treated the actor

LONDON: Actor Ian McKellen is expected to make a full recovery after he toppled off a London stage Monday during a fight scene and was hospitalized, a spokesperson said.
McKellen, 85, was in “good spirits” after doctors said a scan showed he was expected to fully recover from the fall, a spokesperson for the Noel Coward Theatre said.
The stage and screen veteran known for playing Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” films and many stage roles over a six decade career cried out in pain after the fall, according to a BBC journalist at the theater.
McKellen was playing John Falstaff in “Player Kings,” a production of Henry IV, parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, at the Noel Coward Theatre.
He lost his footing and fell off the stage in a scene with the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy. The tumble startled theatergoers.
“Sir Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene,” audience member Paul Critchley told the PA news agency, saying it was a shock. “He picked up momentum as he moved downstage which resulted in him falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.”
Staff and two doctors in the audience helped the ailing actor, the spokesperson said.
The theater was evacuated and the play was canceled. The production for Tuesday was also canceled to give McKellen time to rest.
McKellen’s career includes playing Magneto in the X-Men films and several Shakespearean characters including Richard II, Macbeth and King Lear.
He has won a Tony Award for “Amadeus,” several Laurence Olivier Awards and has been nominated for two Oscars and several BAFTA awards.


Emotional Boult calls T20 World Cup exit his ‘last day’ for New Zealand

Emotional Boult calls T20 World Cup exit his ‘last day’ for New Zealand
Updated 55 min 17 sec ago
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Emotional Boult calls T20 World Cup exit his ‘last day’ for New Zealand

Emotional Boult calls T20 World Cup exit his ‘last day’ for New Zealand
  • Boult’s tally of 317 wickets in 78 Tests, is the fourth highest by any New Zealand bowler

Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, June 17, 2024 Agence France Presse: Left-arm paceman Trent Boult said he had played his “last day” of international cricket after New Zealand’s disappointing T20 World Cup campaign ended with a seven-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in Trinidad on Monday.
His 13-year stint in international cricket appeared to have ended in the downbeat setting of a ‘dead’ T20 World Cup game.
“It feels a little bit weird, a few emotions obviously the last couple of days,” said Boult.
Pressed on whether the game represented his final New Zealand appearance, Boult added an element of doubt: “I haven’t thought much further than this, I’m in no position to comment right now. I enjoyed being out there one last time.”
Defeats by Afghanistan and tournament co-hosts the West Indies earlier in Group C had helped end the Black Caps’ hopes of qualifying for the second-round Super Eights.
Papua New Guinea had also been eliminated before the match in front of a sparse crowd at the Brian Lara Stadium.
Boult took two wickets for 14 runs as PNG were skittled out for 78 in an innings where fellow quick Lockie Ferguson finished with a remarkable 3-0 from his maximum four overs but
“Gutted to not go any further, but I’m very proud of what I’ve done with the Black Caps and sad it’s my last day with New Zealand,” said Boult.
The 34-year-old has been infrequently selected for international duty since being released from his New Zealand central contract in August 2022, allowing him to play in more domestic T20 leagues abroad.
The swing bowler did feature in New Zealand’s 50-over World Cup campaign last year, where they reached the semifinals only to suffer a 70-run defeat by tournament hosts India at a packed Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Boult’s tally of 317 wickets in 78 Tests, is the fourth highest by any New Zealand bowler. Longstanding new-ball colleague Tim Southee (380 Test wickets) is second, behind Richard Hadlee (431 wickets).
“I’ve shared a dressing room with Tim Southee for well over a dozen years,” said Boult, with the pair both involved when New Zealand beat India in the inaugural 2021 World Test Championship final. “It’s a partnership I’ve enjoyed forming, and we’re very good friends off the field.”
Boult’s last Test was against England at Headingley nearly two years ago, with the World Cup semifinal the most recent of 114 one-day internationals that yielded 211 wickets in total.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson paid tribute to Boult by saying he had been a “great servant of the game” who was “consistent in all formats.”
The star batsman added: “It’ll be sad to see him go, it’s been quite special being with him throughout his career.
“He’s got such an attitude for getting better. He trains very hard, he’s as fit as he’s ever been. He knows how he wants to operate in all formats. He sticks his chest out and performs well for his country.”
“He’s made a fantastic contribution to our game and he’s created a space for new players to come in and meet the standard that he’s set.”


Mbappé’s facial injury places doubt on his continued involvement in Euro 2024

Mbappé’s facial injury places doubt on his continued involvement in Euro 2024
Updated 18 June 2024
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Mbappé’s facial injury places doubt on his continued involvement in Euro 2024

Mbappé’s facial injury places doubt on his continued involvement in Euro 2024
  • Deschamps: “The French team with Kylian would always be stronger”

DUSSELDORF, Germany: Kylian Mbappé’s facial injury in France’s 1-0 win against Austria on Monday has put in doubt whether he will continue at the European Championship.
An aerial head-on-shoulder collision with Austria’s Kevin Danso left Mbappé curled on the field with his nose bloodied and swollen late in the Group D game at Dusseldorf Arena.
“I don’t have the elements in my hands,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “He didn’t get off lightly. It is still to be seen. I cannot at this stage give the answer (if he will be ruled out).”
Mbappé’s obvious pain following the collision prompted Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz to signal for urgent medical assistance.
“He’s not doing well. He’s with the medical staff. His nose got badly hit that’s for sure,” Deschamps said. “We need to check, but it seems quite complicated, which is really unfortunate for us tonight.”
Mbappé’s injury likely struck fear in the hearts of France fans.
He is France’s talisman and widely considered the heir to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world. Also, he will finally wear the famous white jersey of Real Madrid next season after joining as a free agent from Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappé tried to play on against Austria, but quickly fell to the ground again, holding his face and prompting whistles and jeers from opposition fans, who seemed to believe he was time-wasting as France held on for the win.
He was then booked by referee Jesus Gil Manzano and replaced by Olivier Giroud.
“We’re worried to see Kylian leave the field like that,” France midfielder N’Golo Kante said. “We still don’t know what the situation is. ... We hope that it’s not too severe and that he’s back with us for the rest of the competition.”
Mbappé produced a mixed performance before the injury but still showed his importance to France’s hopes of winning a record-equalling third European Championship and its first since 2000.
It was his moment of inspiration that led to Maximilian Wober scoring an own goal in the 38th minute that handed Deschamps his 100th win as national team coach.
With a flash of close-ball control, Mbappé beat Phillipp Mwene in the box and crossed in search of a teammate. In Wober’s desperation to cut out the danger, he inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net.
Mbappé was then guilty of a remarkable miss 10 minutes into the second half when failing to hit the target from close range with only the keeper to beat.
Bursting through on goal, he was too fast for Wober and had time to steady himself in the box before picking his spot. With France fans behind the goal just waiting for the net to bulge, Mbappe’s shot instead curled past the post to the relief of the Austrians.
He has yet to score in the European Championship, having failed to at the last Euros three years ago.
Deschamps, however, does not want to consider worst case scenarios.
“I’m not going to go into hypothesis,” he said. “The French team with Kylian would always be stronger. If the news doesn’t go along these lines then we’ll have to fight without him, but Kylian is Kylian and any team with him in the squad is obviously a lot stronger.”