In Brief Neurotechnologies will offer brand new ways for humans to interface with computers. A brain-computer interface might allow a paralyzed person to move a robotic arm, or a person with a spinal cord injury to control a motorized wheelchair.
An article published in the journal Nature describes an imminent future where “It will be possible to decode people’s mental processes and directly manipulate the brain mechanisms underlying their intentions, emotions and decisions.” In order to make sure that this technology helps those who need it without disastrous consequences, there is a need for rules and regulations.
A brain-computer interface offers up all kinds of new ways to harvest a person’s most intimate data.
“When greater access is provided to neural data and our internal brain states that, at least for now, remain a kind of ‘last frontier’ of fully private space, we will be giving up privacy in an even more profound way.”
Given the enormous impact that new technologies have on society, there’s perhaps an argument to be made that people working in the industry should be held to a similar standard.
“A variety of national brain initiatives are already taking place within individual countries, but ethics and policy efforts within each of them stand to gain greatly from shared attention to the relevant issues.”