16 May 2008


“Good news from the world of science!” announced the article; “Chinese researchers have successfully performed a path breaking experiment on brain control. With the help of a tiny chip, Dr. (something-something) and his colleagues attained success in controlling the movements of a common pigeon. They were able to make it fly, stop in mid air and turn back just with the press of a few buttons. According to Dr. (something-something), this "experiment holds ‘immense practical possibilities for the future’.”

Good news indeed! What ‘immense practical possibilities’ could such an experiment have?

Considering the People’s Republic of China’s dismal human rights record as well as its more than just worrisome military and economic ambitions, something that would hardly be cause enough for cheer.

Teeny weenie chips that can control pigeons? Must have been an exciting idea for the Communists.

Pigeons today, humans tomorrow?

Who knows? After all, science is progressing by leaps and bounds these days. Well, what would the good communists do with this impervious-curse like weapon?

For starters, things would become so simple for them.

Students protesting against state oppression? Never fear! Just put a chip in their head and convert them into loyal party workers.

And its not just silly little groups of college students that the comrades might control with this ‘immensely practical’ technology. What great difference, structurally, is there between a college student and, say, the Prime Minister of India, President of the United States of America, the President of Russia, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Secretary General of the United Nations? Not Much, eh? (though I've always imagined the Russians to be taller than the Chinese). It would not be beyond the good Doctor’s brilliant capabilities to replicate the success of his invention on a human guinea pig.

It is of course very likely that I have entered the realm of science fiction stories and Hollywood action thrillers (and I vaguely remember seeing one film where they implant something in people’s mouth to control their movements). If that be the case and the good doctor’s intentions be noble, then we might as well as hail the ‘good news’. If that not be the case, then, well, we better start hailing President Mao.

Why do scientists have to be so pigeon-headed?

No comments: