As many neuroscientists dream about brain-wave control of machines to not only let people rise out of their wheelchairs but eventually lead to mind melds and thought downloads, others of us worry about mind control. If we can interact mentally with machines, how will machines (and their evil masters) be able to mess with our minds?
Well, we've got time to worry about it. Unless, that is, we're worms.
A team at Harvard University has built a computerized system to manipulate the behavior of worms by stimulating their neurons individually with laser light. The team can make the worms start and stop, give them the sensation of being touched, and even make them lay eggs, all while the worms are swimming freely in a Petri dish.
The researchers want to understand how neurons work together, efventually learning how to help people with neurological problems. But all I can think of is worms wiggling lock-wiggle into a wormy shopping mall, buying whatever their masters decree. Sure, worms aren't all that bright. Their brains are smaller than a grain of sand. But people are so much smarter?