By: Peter Bradshaw | Father of the Cyborgs review – the Indiana Jones of neuroscience | Neuroscience | The Guardian
This film exploring the ideas of Dr Phil Kennedy, who had an electrode implanted in his brain, throws up interesting prospects for the human future
Dr Phil Kennedy is regarded by many as the Indiana Jones of neuroscience: a Limerick-born doctor who became a bioengineering trailblazer, making people excited – and then nervous – by the way he worked outside the system. Then finally, sensationally, he experimented on himself by having an electrode implanted inside his brain in a Belize clinic that specialises in medical tourism.
Kennedy did this to measure the ways in which brainwaves can be harnessed to external computing capacity, helping people with locked-in syndrome or ALS, for example, although what was specifically achieved by implant surgery on himself isn’t clear. This brief documentary is a partial introduction to the man and his work and it seeks to rescue Kennedy from his wacky reputation, to downplay the maverick side of his personality (there is no mention of his self-published sci-fi novel called 2051) and it doesn’t dwell on the fact that Kennedy is now regarded as somewhat eccentric by mainstream neuroscientists – although disruptors, pioneers and original thinkers are very often people just like him.