Summary: Neuroscientific research is fraught with moral and ethical dilemmas concerning the potential uses and misuses of technology.
Original author and publication date: Kathy Pretz – September 14, 2020
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Nice! Scientists are developing brain technologies with no ethical guidelines. What could go wrong?
From the article:
The IEEE Brain Initiative seeks volunteers to help frame ethical, legal, and social issues for neurotechnologists to consider
For neuroengineers and others who are developing technologies to fix diseases of the human brain, the work can be fascinating. After all, the brain guides the decisions we make. But neuroscientific research is fraught with moral and ethical dilemmas concerning the potential usesTweet
To help navigate that tricky area, the IEEE Brain neuroethics subcommittee recently released the first public version of its IEEE Neuroethics Framework.
A work in progress, the document is organized into a matrix that covers five types of neurotechnologies including those used to stimulate the nervous system or control it. It then breaks down the technologies into current and potential applications. Examples include optimizing a student’s learning abilities to excel in school or modifying an employee’s brain to make the worker more efficient. Within each application the framework explains the ethical, legal, and social issues that might arise from the use of technology.
“Brain science generates a number of ethical issues, and any attempts to assess and/or affect the brain—ergo the mind and the self—have profound philosophical, social, cultural, and perhaps even religious implications,” says James J. Giordano, chair of the subcommittee. The Professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., and Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program at the university’s Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics is an IEEE senior member.
“We want to ensure the research being done is conducted in a way that’s responsible,” Giordano says. “In addition to building neural technologies well, we’re seeking and striving to guide and direct how such research will be used in ways that are morally, ethically, and legally sound.”
The framework was created by a multidisciplinary group of experts from the fields of engineering, technology, science, philosophy, anthropology, ethics, and law.