Wirehead (science fiction)

Concept in fiction or futuristic applications / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wireheading is a term associated with fictional or futuristic applications[1] of brain stimulation reward, the act of directly triggering the brain's reward center by electrical stimulation of an inserted wire, for the purpose of 'short-circuiting' the brain's normal reward process and artificially inducing pleasure. Scientists have successfully performed brain stimulation reward on rats (1950s)[2] and humans (1960s). This stimulation does not appear to lead to tolerance or satiation in the way that sex or drugs do.[3] The term is sometimes associated with science fiction writer Larry Niven, who used the term in his Known Space series.[4][5] In the philosophy of artificial intelligence, the term is used to refer to AI systems that hack their own reward channel.[3]

The wires of an implanted deep brain stimulation (DBS) device are visible as white lines in an X-ray of the skull. Large white areas around the maxilla and mandible are metal dentures and are unrelated to the DBS device.

More broadly, the term can also refer to various kinds of interaction between human beings and technology.[1]

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