Do you ever wake up in the morning and think to yourself – You know what my life needs right now? More dystopia. I know I do! But putting in place a totalitarian government can be time-consuming not to mention expensive. But don’t worry boo, I got you covered.
Now you can take that first step towards the carefree unthinking life you’ve always dreamed of with your very own DIY Sybil System. This project may seem a little daunting at first so to make it easier for all you first timers, I’ve broken it down into different components. Today we’re going to look at the organic bits.
If you haven’t seen Psycho-Pass but are a general fan of oppressive societal structures and want to follow along, here’s a brief summary of what a Sybil System is (obviously spoilers):
The Sibyl System is a law enforcement agency which runs in cooperation with the government to manage crime in 22nd century Japan. It is in charge of the Public Safety Bureau and rules over its personnel, along with all Psycho-Pass technology and weaponry.
The Sibyl System is a hive mind made up of “people” who are criminally asymptomatic so that their Psycho-Passes cannot be determined. There are 247 currently known members in total, with 200 of these members working around the clock to scan and determine the Psycho-Pass of everyone in the country.
In addition to just managing crime, Sibyl is active in many aspects of citizens daily routines, such as controlling who can do what job after graduation. As a result there’s not really a democracy anymore because Sibyl decides who the bureaucrats are, thereby making sure no one gets elected by mistake. The officials elected by the citizens are just figureheads.
Sibyl further controls the borders for both entry and exit by any and all individuals and will exile anyone deemed to be: social critics, political groups, students, university teachers, and some farmers; basically, anyone deemed useless in the new order. (L) as per Psycho pass wiki
For this project you will need
- at least two brains,
- a homeostatic sterile environment,
- a hammer,
- Gatorade ™ ,
- An array of microelectrode and/or transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Safety scissors
- A positive attitude
1) First you will need to get a live brain. It is very important that the brain be live and fresh. No digging great grandma! Although the real Sybil System has some very precise parameter for exactly what type of brain to use, for your home version most generally functional human brains will do the trick.
Once you’ve gotten your fresh live brain all ready to go, you will need to make sure it stays alive somehow.
Because Humans are the absolute worst and science is a horrific cesspool of nightmares, we actually know that brains can be kept alive for some time after being severed from the rest of the body. We’ve known this for a fact, for over a century, so by now we’ve actually got a couple of options for making this work.
Since we don’t want to reattach the brain to a body or stick it in a robot, the most practical option here would be to go the brain in a jar route.
2) To keep the brain tissue alive you have to make sure you replace all the functions that would normally be carried out by the body. Fortunately, this is easier than you might think. The metabolic function of vertebrate brains can be sustained almost entirely through oxygen and glucose as well as a few simple nutrients. So get your brain food ready by whipping up this super simple and delicious homemade cerebrospinal fluid. Fill up you jar with Gatorade tm , this has both the sugar and electrolytes (it’s what plants crave) needed, add a pinch of pH stabilizers, you can get those from your local pool supplier or a kids chemistry set, and mix in some living cell nutrients (health food stores or florists will help you out with those). If you want to be fancy, you can throw in a dash of antioxidants to keep your brain looking young and protect it while it recovers from the shock of the move. Heat everything up to body temperature stirring until you got a nice even fluid.
3) Next, you want to add in some oxygen. I recommend not skimping out on this and pick up a nice high quality oxygen tank, They’re a pit pricey but it’s worth it. You can also get yourself a nice aquarium filter to bubble that oxygen in and distribute it nicely through your fluid, and you got your solution done!
PRO TIP: You can do this step ahead of time and immerse your new brain in as soon as you get your hands on it to minimize cell damage. If you’ve made too much you can keep the extra in a separate clean jar but once it has had a brain in it, you shouldn’t use it for a different one.
4) This will feed the large surface area of your brain and should keep it in working order for an hours or two but what about the middle parts? This is where we turn to Dr. Marco De Curtis and his method for catheterizing the Circle of Willis. All you need to do is insert some microfine catheters as shown and you will tap into your brain’s internal vascular system, at which point you can simply pump in the fluid and presto – brain in a jar.
If you’ve followed the steps right, your newly jarred friend should keep for an average lifespan. It will unfortunately still be subject to cellular degeneration and eventually age and die like any other brain. Although you are now protecting your brain from outside contaminants, you should keep in mind (hah) that any design flaws (genetic predispositions) are still in effect and your brain can become senile or develop non virulent Alzheimer’s and so on…
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, this is all well and good Irina but so far all I really have is an unusual paperweight, and you’re right. For the system to be a “system”, you’re going to need to form a network, so repeat the steps above until you got yourself a second fresh jarred brain.
I know that some of you are amateur fact checkers and will take to the nets to double-check this info. And good on you! You may come across a couple of articles stating that brains will not survive more than a few hours without a body but don’t be fooled, they’re just trying to sell you expensive commercial brains in jars. Simply look at the research of renowned scientists such as the University of Southern California’s Theodore Berger, Duke University’s Mikhail Lebedev, and Alexander Kaplan of Moscow University who all posit that there is precedent with current technology to have the human brain functioning indefinitely in a non-human carrier–as long as the appropriate support system is there for the brain. They also stress the fact that nerve cells age slowly compared to other organs.
Next we get to the fun part. Linking these babies together!
The field of “brain-to-brain interfaces” (BBIs) which allow for direct transmission of brain activity in real time by coupling the brains of two individuals, has been booming in the past few years.
Brain-to-brain interface is made possible because of the way brain cells communicate with each other. Cell-to-cell communication occurs via a process known as synaptic transmission, where chemical signals are passed between cells resulting in electrical spikes in the receiving cell. Because cells are connected in a network, brain activity produces a synchronised pulse of electrical activity, which is called a “brain wave”. The electrical nature of the brain allows not only for sending of signals, but also for the receiving of electrical pulses. These can be delivered in a non-invasive way using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
First in 2013, a groundbreaking study showed that it was possible for two rats to communicate “telepathically” across great distances.
This was done by first training rats to press a lever identified with a glowing light to get a reward, and then splitting them up into “encoders” and “decoders”. Microelectrodes (which are seriously tiny you guys) were attached to the rats’ primary motor cortex and the brain activity of the “encoders” was recorded as they accomplished the task. ** Weird irrelevant fact, they found that pressing the left lever produced a different pattern of activity from pressing the right lever, regardless of which was the correct action.
Next the “decoders” were given an implant in the same brain area that stimulates neurons rather than recording them, and were then “uploaded” the data recorded from the “encoders”. The decoder rats were given the same task but without a light to identify the right lever. Despite this, the decoder rats picked the right lever 72 per cent of the time.
Several different experiments of the type were done but you get the idea. Pairs of rats were even able to cooperate across continents using cyberspace. Brain signals from an encoder rat at the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal in Brazil were sent to a decoder in a Duke University lab in North Carolina via the internet. Though there was a slight transmission delay, the decoder rat still performed with an accuracy similar to those of rats in closer proximity with encoders.
Similar techniques employing TMSs in place of implanted microelectrodes were used to have a human communicate with a rat (making the latter move his tail in specific patterns) and even allowing one person to control another’s hand with their brain!
Professor Christopher James of the University of Warwick has confirmed that although abstract thoughts are harder to read and represent; it is not impossible technologically. “We can already do that … we just need to understand the brain better,”.
“These experiments showed that we have established a sophisticated direct communication linkage between brains…so, basically, we are creating what I call an organic computer,” said Professor Miguel Nicolelis of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who led the team.
It should be noted that progress in the field has been slowed due to ethical/legal concerns but the technology is available. As such, if you simply brush those aside, you should be good to go. So either implant your microelectrodes or your TMSs throughout your brains and your are all set to start networking.
You can also get a few cameras or really any measuring device to send your brains some data using the same hardware as receivers – heck you could plug them into the internet and watch them commit suicide… In fact, Russian scientists have developed brain-computer interfaces (BCIs)–plug-in interfaces which meld the human brain and nervous system to computer operating systems and are most commonly found in toys that read brainwaves to detect stress or concentration, there now you even have your psycho-pass readers all set to go.
At this point you must be feeling pretty proud of yourself, and rightly so. Take a break, you’ve earned. There are a few things left to do before you can topple civilization as we know it but you’ve taken a great first step here!
A big thanks to Remy who made sure this post was in fact in English. And also Hazelyn over at Archi-Anime who made sure it was in fact readable. Hazelyn is a wonderful and passionate architect and I’ve actually been bugging her to put together post considering the structural elements of the Sybil System so that you can all complete your project! Go bug her over ather blog too!