Nov 29, 2011Science and Technology
Nanodrug cartels, digital highs, and mind-altering music DJs

The drug peddling gangsters and cartels of tomorrow may be more "nanotech kingpin" than "Pablo Escobar" according to an extensive study by a technology think tank.


The futurist Rohit Talwar, founder of Fast Future Research and profiled by the Independent as one of the top ten global future thinkers, laid out a fascinating digital narcotics landscape at Intelligence Squared’s If conference. 


According to Rohit Talwar, genomic sequencing services, brain pattern mapping and transcranial magnetic stimulation make it possible to customize drug efficacy for an individual; advances can apply to narcotics as much as prescription medicine. Rohit Talwar commented, “You could also visualize the experience and then tailor the effect to what you want. This nano-bio-info-cogno convergence gets us into some very interesting spheres.” Drug effects can be maximized to uniquely capitalize on someone's personal genetic makeup or physiology.

At the University of California, Berkeley, neuroscientists were able to replicate images from human minds by detecting brain patterns from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and computational models. Such dynamic visual imaging technologies may one day record dreams and offer insight into the minds of patients who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases that inhibit effective verbal communication.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, a key component of the process, uses electromagnetic induction to sever cortical processing and illuminate the patterns of excitation and inhibition in neural pathways. In other words, transcranial magnetic stimulation can sever brain functions such as the ability to speak or remember. Combined with brain image replication and genetic sequencing services, a very nuanced and optimized high can be created in the brain.

Delivering a stimulus via sound, light or electromagnetic impulse has expanded our understanding of brain function and the patterns of electrical and chemical stimulations increased by narcotics; the data offers a blueprint for crafting personalized ecstasies and potent euphorias.


A very intriguing scenario that Rohit Talwar has painted is the creation and use of nanodrugs. He imagines a club environment where the DJ releases nanoparticles that the audience digitally ingests. These nanotech particles would be comprised of biological proteins whose effects are only triggered by specific electromagnetic stimuli; the DJ can then orchestrate the release of a chemical symphony in the crowd's brains.

“The more we can understand the brain, the more we can deliver positive effects such as improved memory function. Do you want to get high? Mellow? Actually, I want to live my life in my head as half-human half-cat,” said Rohit Talwar jokingly.

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