Authorities have confirmed that Dr. Lily Miller, the innovative founder of Braintune who ushered in a new era of artificial intelligence and medical care, died in a plane crash Saturday. She was 32.
Her death had been hinted at early this morning on Twitter by her husband of seven years, Tom Freeman, who was piloting the plane when it went down in a remote wooded area in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “I’ve lost my Lily,” Mr. Freeman wrote.
Although the crash has yet to be attributed to human error or mechanical failure, the specter of assassination has long hung over Miller, who has survived several attempts on her life. Authorities have refused to discuss the case, saying they are pursuing all lines of investigation.
Dr. Miller is best known for the invention of Braintune, a biotechnology implant that revolutionized the treatment of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s, depression, schizophrenia, and myriad other illnesses. Braintune is widely viewed as having revolutionized disease treatment and patient care, but has also long been a lightning rod for privacy-obsessed hackers, religious fanatics, and civil rights groups who oppose its use in the prison system.
The anti-digitalist Cranamerican Foundation has engaged in several costly legal battles with Braintune, claiming that Miller’s chip will lead to robotic possession, loss of jobs, and the obsolescence of humanity. When a Braintune Tuning Test facility was firebombed last year, just minutes before Miller was expected to arrive, a Cranamerican took credit for the attack, although the Foundation disavows violence and repudiated the claim.
The joyful but sinister hacking coalition known as 4reemers have also clashed repeatedly with Miller. Posts on their site warn that Braintune’s chips are eminently hackable, making huge numbers of Americans and Braintune clients worldwide vulnerable to foreign control. The 4reemers have put a bounty on Freeman’s head, offering $1 million to anyone who can hack his chip. A recent domestic violence incident at the Freeman-Miller household may have been related to an attempted hack.
Miller first came up with the idea for Braintune while in college, working a volunteer job at a facility for violent felons. It was the foundation of her post-doctoral work, the central product of her company, and an expression of her hopes for humanity. Once implanted in the brain, the chips monitors chemical changes and neurological activity, then electrically stimulate targeted neurons in order to counteract symptoms and prevent negative impulses from forming or harmful behaviors from being expressed.
Her first patient was Tom Freeman, an ex-con she’d met at that same volunteer job. Although the chip had yet to be approved, Miller’s concern over Freeman’s occasional violent behavior led her to implant him long before clinical trials. They married soon after FDA approval.
Although patients must visit a Braintune facility bimonthly in order to have their chips calibrated, adjustments can also be made at home via a Braintune app developed by Dr. Miller. She was also a devoted philanthropist who spearheaded campaigns for universal healthcare and insurance reform and who spoke regularly about her desire to make Braintune’s care available to all, regardless of income.
Control of Dr. Miller’s privately held company is believed to have passed to Mr. Freeman. Braintune has yet to issue a statement regarding Dr. Miller’s death.
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