The FDA Reluctantly Approves Google Implant
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced its granting of conditional approval to Google's direct neural interface for implantation in Americans. Google ImplantTM remains banned in the European Union, with its approval marked by protests and controversy in the United States. U.S. regulators apparently buckled under pressure from trade negotiators worried that an "implant gap" could imperil U.S. competitiveness due to the product's fast-growing popularity in China, where it has enabled Chinese entrepreneurs, executives, and diplomats to wirelessly access and search the Internet using only their thoughts.
Google Implant is the only commercially successful product to grow out of the $3 billion Brain Activity Map Initiative (BRAIN) launched by the Obama administration a decade ago. Initially developed to help disabled individuals control their motorized wheelchairs, Google Implant is comprised of a small array of nano-electrodes implanted directly into a patient's visual cortex and linked to an external power pack and Wi-Fi transceiver. When researchers learned they could project the World Wide Web directly onto the brain with search queries directed by sub-vocalized commands, rogue Google X researchers working out of the tech giant's Shanghai skunkworks took the research in a new direction.
Critics of the technology argue that it could further exacerbate income inequality, pointing to its $250,000 price tag and requirement for six months of expensive calibration therapy. "Devices like Google Implant threaten to turn the digital divide between the information haves and the have-nots into an unbridgeable chasm," warned President Elizabeth Warren, who claimed to have been surprised by the EPA ruling. "I plan to issue an executive order that will ensure none of these implants are allowed in my country unless the Affordable Care Reform and Rebranding Act (ACRARA) provides them free of charge to all citizens, documented and otherwise."
The FDA's approval did not come without conditions imposed by other agencies.
To prevent this technology from being used for digital money laundering, the distribution of child pornography, or the plotting of terrorist attacks, all Google Implant users will have to register with the National Security Agency, which will monitor and store all communications transmitted by each device.
The Transportation Safety Administration also announced plans to install special scanners in all U.S. airports to identify Google-Implanted passengers, who will be required to wear lead lined headgear during takeoffs and landings to avoid interference with flight navigation systems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a warning about the dangers of Mind-Googling while driving, and endorsed efforts by the State of California to revoke the driver's licenses of all Google Implant users that have not purchased electric driverless cars.
Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency, prompted by complaints from migraine sufferers, has begun a study on the effect of secondhand brainwaves alleged to emanate from the device. Until this study is completed, all Google Implant users must remain at least 20 feet away from other people while conducting thought-driven searches. Exceptions will be made for users wearing lead lined headgear, which will be made available for purchase at many airport kiosks.
Meanwhile, the American Federal of Teachers called for a nationwide strike demanding a ban on Google Implants among public school students. AFT President for Life Randi Weingarten highlighted the risk of humiliation for teachers second-guessed by students instantly checking the accuracy of their lessons. The Educational Testing Service voiced its support, worried that the SAT could be rendered useless, thus throwing many college admissions officers out of work.
Unfazed by the onslaught of regulatory activity and public concern, Google executives predicted that by 2030 over 1 billion humans would be equipped with Google Implant. "Once you've used this device there's no going back," said Google co-founder Sergey Brin, one of the first people to be fit with the device. "Our mission to organize all of the world's information will not be complete until we can capture every thought of every person on the planet, including the last BlackBerry user rumored to be holed up in Outer Mongolia." Google stock rose to a new high on record volume.
On a down note underscoring potential risks of the new technology, a pilot experiment by the Center for American Progress to install Google Implants in a dozen homeless volunteers to demonstrate how the technology can be used to overcome lack of privilege ended in failure when all 12 starved to death. Log files indicated they had spent the prior 72 hours lying on the sidewalk watching porn videos, forgetting to eat.