Viewpoint: We need to consider the psychological, behavioral implications of Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface

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Image: Neuralink

Despite the technical promise of wireless read-write brain-machine interfaces, companies like Neuralink are in danger of getting so wrapped up in what they can do, that they lose sight of the ethics behind what they should do.

First, there are the potential acute and chronic physiological impacts associated with inserting thousands of electrodes into the brain. Ensuring the safety of this tech is far from trivial. 

The second area is more tricky, and concerns potential psychological and behavioral impacts. Where the technology is being used for medical purposes, there will always be tradeoffs between the benefits of neural interfaces, and how these might affect a person’s mental state and behavior. 

Then there’s a third area of ethical concerns, and the potentially broader, societal impacts of the technology.

For instance, if at some point in the future you get a Neuralink implant to enhance your mental abilities, or for recreational purposes, who owns that implant and has access to its data and functions? Based on current law, it’s almost definitely not you.

[T]here’s still time for Neuralink and others to develop a robust strategy for ethical and responsible innovation, so everyone can realize the full benefits of the technology. 

Read full, original post: Neuralink’s Technology Is Impressive. Is It Ethical?

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