2051 Micromechanical Neuro-Implant

Micromechanical Neuro-Implant. Chengdu, China.

The only surviving model of the Series-H optic nerve adapter of a micromechanical AV neuro-implant from the Chengdu Center for Medical Technology.

The implant feeds artificial signals into visual and auditory nerves. It originates from the 22nd clinical trial series, which was initially aimed at helping blind and deaf people. The device consists of five components, two of each for visual and auditory nerves and a central control module. The elements are each about five millimeters in size. They are placed in the target regions of the head during an operation, largely minimally invasive.

After the surgical installation, microfibers connect to the local neurons. In contrast to modern Nano-implants, this is done with a "shoot first, ask later" approach, i.e. all neurons are connected and only then analyzed. The connection phase is followed by the calibration period in which the function of the neurons is tested. A priori, the functions of individual neurons and bundles of neurons are not known. With the calibration, neurons (and combinations of neurons) are assigned to visual field elements (pixels) and frequencies.

An essential innovation of the eighth series (Model-H) was the autarkic system without an external power supply and without a battery. The devices are powered by chemical micro-reactors that take blood sugar from the bloodstream. The implant is supplied with data wirelessly.

In addition to the power supply, the resolution was also groundbreaking. The entire field of view had 300k pixels plus 50k pixels in the focal point. This made it possible to create images with up to 600 pixels or to fade in corresponding schematic drawings and texts over the natural image.

Micromechanical Neuro-implants were the forerunners of Nano-implants, which later enabled the use of "Slinks" (sensory links), i.e. the recording and reproduction of sensory perceptions up to the point of full simulation.

2052 Civil Rights for Primates

Iceland is the first nation to officially recognize apes as people. Some specifically selected species of apes are given the same rights as those afforded to young children. Thereby they theoretically attain human rights. Foremost they get the protection of life and physical integrity and the right to freedom. In practice, they need to claim their rights in court. If necessary, they are appointed a spokesperson to safeguard their rights. If a spokesperson for a chimpanzee makes a case for him not to be caged, then chances are high that a court grants the request based on its right to self-determination.

This new Islandic law is very far-reaching. In addition to the classification for primates, other animals are being upgraded as well. Some other species that show high cognitive abilities are acknowledged as "co-beings". This category includes octopus, elephant, dolphin, some whales, wolves, and dogs. These animals are no longer to be considered as "things". Now they form a new legal category of "beings" alongside people and things. Hence individuals of these species can no longer be treated as property.

A permanent commission is established to decide which species are to belong to this category. The commission consists of delegates from various social groups evaluating abilities such as self-recognition, social behavior, planning skills, problem solving, communication through sounds or sign language, recognition of cause and effect, innovation, and the general ability to learn.

The Icelandic parliament the Althing explicitly states that only new data acquired by purely scientific means (i.e.: observation hypothesis tests) may be presented for discussion specifically excluding arguments based on traditional beliefs and financial reasons, such as "it has always been that way", or "ancient writings say that" or "it is not affordable". In 2062 – against the resistance of the meat industry – several species of farm animals are also included. This effectively renders the farming of pigs for meat production illegal.

"How should we relate to beings who look into mirrors and see themselves as individuals, who mourn companions and may die of grief, who have a consciousness of 'self '. Don't they deserve to be treated with the same sort of consideration we accord to other highly sensitive beings: ourselves" – Jane Goodall, half a century ago.

It was a long way from the banning of fur farms, battery cages, animal testing for cosmetics at the start of the 21st century until the first recognition of animals as persons by a sovereign state. Even before there were single cases of animals being guaranteed certain rights. In India animals have long been protected as "beings" (rather than "things"). In Germany animals also obtained rights which in practice however often had to take a back seat to commercial interests. In the twenties and thirties, the movement for animal rights, the Nonhuman Rights Project, increasingly gained support. Scandinavia, New Zealand, Bhutan, and Ecuador also introduced animal rights, as well as bans on exploitation and abuse. In the forties they were joined by many other countries.

Ultimately, the insight prevails that personhood cannot simply be limited to humans but rather must be based on a continuum of cognitive and social skills. It is also recognized that chimpanzees are as intelligent, self-aware, and compassionate as human children. That we do not deny humanity to people with limited abilities and that in protecting fellow beings in the same way as fellow humans that need protection, we can prove our own humanity.

After Iceland other Scandinavian and European countries follow suit by fully recognizing the personal rights of primates.

During the following two decades 50 more nations join in. Though, they represent just 15% of the world's (human) population.

Orangutans are granted human rights only posthumously.