Hacking your Brain

Is it possible to hack the brain? Although it sounds like science fiction, it is possible to change thoughts and emotions.


While the concern for politics increases as new ideologies emerge or other more extreme gain support, technology goes unnoticed. But, perhaps, we should be more afraid of the technology that can make brain hacking possible.

While it may sound like a science fiction story, brain hacking, to a certain extent, is already possible. We have the belief of free will, we assume that our feelings and thoughts arise from individual freedom and, therefore, also our actions. However, this idea is false. There are many conditioning factors that will determine how we think, feel and act. So, if our decisions are not free, what conditions them?

Elections are not free

The decisions we make will depend on biological and social conditions that we can not control. For example, I can choose what I am going to eat today. This decision, although a priori seems free, is conditioned by my genes.

I can only eat what my body tolerates. In addition, the choice will depend on the resources you have. I can not eat a beef steak if I do not have money to buy it. There are even going to be cultural factors. If my culture does not tolerate the consumption of dog meat, I will not choose this meat to eat.

“Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people.”

-Bruce Schneier-

Another example is found in love. Did we choose who we fell in love with? Usually not. These examples clearly show that, if we value the decisions we make on a day-to-day basis, we will realize that most of them are beyond our control. Consequently, we do not freely decide what to think, what to feel or what to want. There are some limitations.

This belief in free will has a great consequence. If companies or governments manage to hack the brain, those that are easier to manipulate will be those who believe in free will. So, in order to get the brain hacking, three things are needed: solid knowledge of biology, a lot of data and a great computing capacity. With these three elements it would be possible to predict the decisions we make and even manipulate our feelings.

«Fear is the way to the dark side, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hatred, hatred leads to suffering, suffering to the dark side».

-Yoda, Star Wars-

The hacking of the brain

The fake news or false news is another case of restricted freedom. When we read a story that is false, without knowing it, and we believe it, we will think that we are free to believe it or not. But the truth is that someone has hacheado us. The person who created the news is hacking our brain so that we believe that something false is true. In this way it is possible to hack the brain.

In a more elaborate way, with all the information we share in social networks, algorithms can be created that predict our preferences. Based on those preferences, they can create false news that is in line with what we think. In this way, you can create fake personalized messages, which can be very convincing.

Obviously, this is not new. Advertising has always been doing it. The difference is that now, with the rise of the internet and social networks, there is more data about people and the messages can be customized more. In addition, we now know some of the keys. For example, the use of fear, hatred and greed. So, if we hate a person or a group, all the bad things that they say about them we will believe it.

What does the future hold

But the thing Don “t stay there. Currently, the use of devices that measure heart rate is more widespread. What happens if the heart rate data is correlated with the searches we do online? What if it was with the expense of the credit card? They could sell us any product or political ideology. In this situation, does the voter really know what is appropriate and is the client always right?

The reaction is being the recoil. Instead of facing the challenge, we take refuge in even more remote illusions. We resort to religious and nationalist fantasies increasingly distant from the scientific reality of our time.

However, there is an exit that lies in knowing the weak points. Computers are hacked because there are faulty lines of code, humans through fears, hatreds, prejudices and desires. Pirates can not create hatred and fear out of nothing. When you discover that it exists in a person, it is easier for them to know which keys to touch to increase them.