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Author Topic: Neuroethics and BCIs (Brain Computer Interfaces)  (Read 1187 times)

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Neuroethics and BCIs (Brain Computer Interfaces)
« on: May 28, 2019, 03:48:43 AM »

Minds, motherboards, and money: futurism and realism in the neuroethics of BCI technologies

some excerpts ... it is unavoidable so why not give it some thought now ?


Brain computer interfaces (BCIs) are systems that enable the brain to send and receive information to and from a computer, bypassing the body's own efferent and afferent pathways. BCIs have been used in experimental animal models to augment perception, motor control and even memory (Velliste et al., 2008; Berger et al., 2011; Torab et al., 2011). Human BCIs include cochlear implants and a host of experimental devices including retinal implants (Niparko et al., 2010; Klauke et al., 2011). BCI technology holds the potential to benefit humanity greatly, but also the potential to do harm, and its ethical implications have therefore been addressed by a number of commentators.

Approaching the future step by step

We cannot help but approach the future step by step. In contrast, ethical analyses sometimes jump ahead. This is motivated by the commendable desire to anticipate, and therefore more effectively address, the ethical issues of the future. But this long-term ethical forecasting can be counterproductive. One reason is that it takes our attention away from the vitally important, if more mundane, ethical issues of today. Pondering what it means to be human may be more interesting than projecting research and development output under different intellectual property regimes. However, there is only one opportunity to get current decisions right, and that is now. Another reason is that bioethical decisions depend not only on values and principles, but also on the facts of the matter, which we have limited ability to anticipate in the distant future. Only as we live through each of the eras summarized in Table ​1 will we be positioned to predict the likely empirical constraints on the ethical decisions of the next era.

Table 1

Three eras of BCIs and their corresponding ethical challenges.

Time periodCharacteristicsEthical challenges
Long-termExtensive enhancement of human brains with BCIsTranshuman cyborgs treatment of humans as inferior and inconsequential
Vulnerability of those with BCIs to thought control and mind-reading
Loss of individuality to a merged group mind
Immortality of thoughts, memories and whole minds
Medium-termRoutine use of BCIs as therapyCost of BCIs as an obstacle for needy patients
Discomfort or disgust with implants as an obstacle for patients
Question of who controls operation of patients' BCIs
Security of BCIs against hacking
Acceptance of BCIs for enhancement of normal function
Near-termUse of BCIs in a translational research settingConduct of clinical trials
Developing BCI systems that maximize benefit as opposed to profit
Ownership of intellectual property as an impediment or incentive to biomedical advances
The influence of funding sources on research priorities

this continues at the source link ...
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 04:34:47 AM by Chip »
measure twice, cut once


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