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We Can Be Smarter and Happier: The Future of Neurotechnology James J. Hughes Ph.D. Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies Public Policy, Trinity College , Hartford CT January 9, 2008 Future Problem Solvers. Overview. Neurotechnologies Cognitive Liberty

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We Can Be Smarter and Happier: The Future of NeurotechnologyJames J. Hughes Ph.D.Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging TechnologiesPublic Policy, Trinity College, Hartford CTJanuary 9, 2008Future Problem Solvers

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

overview
Overview
  • Neurotechnologies
  • Cognitive Liberty
  • Risks to Cognitive Liberty from Neurotech
  • Neurotech Solutions to Risks

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

emerging technologies
Emerging Technologies

Tech that will radically change the brain:

    • Psychopharmacology
    • Genetic engineering
    • Nanotechnology
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Cognitive science
  • The accelerating convergence of all these
  • “for improving human performance”

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

brain enhancers

Hardware

Software

Internal

External

Brain Enhancers

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

external hardware
External Hardware
  • Pictures, written language and numbers outsourced the brain
  • Started with clay and paper
  • Today wearable computers
  • Cell phones
  • The wireless exo-cortex

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

external software
External Software
  • Communication with other people: verbal, electronic
  • Collaborative knowledge: Meetings, Markets, Wikipedia, Google
  • Calendars & To do lists
  • Info visualization
  • Biofeedback
  • Expert systems and intelligent agents

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

internal software
Internal Software

Knowledge and better thinking habits

  • Education
  • Mnemonics
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Meditation and concentration

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

internal hardware
Internal Hardware

Starts with:

Good diet (i.e. fish oil, vegetables)

Physical exercise

And now:

Gene therapies

Drugs

Brain-computer interfaces

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Stem cells and tissue engineering

Deep brain stimulation

Nanorobotics

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

cognitive enhancement goals
Cognitive Enhancement Goals
  • More Memory
  • Less Anxietyand Better Mood
  • More Alertness
  • More Creativity and Self-Awareness
  • More Empathy
  • Better Senses
  • More Moral Impulses and Better Willpower

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

gene therapy
Gene Therapy

To treat

  • Retardation
  • Alzheimers
  • Depression

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

magnetic stimulation
Magnetic Stimulation
  • Supposedly can enhance creativity and treat depression

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

deep brain stimulation
Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinsons
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

sensory prosthetics
Sensory Prosthetics

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

brain computer interfaces
Brain-Computer Interfaces

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

control of prosthetic limbs
Control of Prosthetic Limbs

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

nanoneural network
NanoNeural Network

2040?

Now

  • Self-replicating
  • Two-way communication
  • Networked

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

cognitive liberty
Cognitive Liberty
  • “Happiness” vs. “Freedom to” as goals
  • Bodily autonomy: right to control own brain
  • Freedom of conscience, thought, belief
  • Full self-realization
  • Brain privacy
  • Liberal individualism’s idea of a discrete, autonomous decider (increasingly problematic)

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

risks to cognitive liberty
Risks to Cognitive Liberty
  • Lack of Privacy
  • Overt Control
  • Ownership
  • Social Norms
  • Addiction
  • Inequality
  • Neurotech doesn’t pose novel challenges, may offer novel solutions

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

lack of privacy
Lack of Privacy
  • Extension of privacy of written and electronic records, drug tests
  • Brain fingerprinting
  • Warrants for brain scans, protecting brain privacy at work

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

overt control
Overt Control
  • Freedom of thought
  • Criminal Rehabilitation
  • Indoctrination
  • Involuntary commitment

Ongoing need to distinguish legitimate brain liberty from insanity and criminality

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

independence from social norms
Independence from Social Norms
  • Conformity, psychiatry under oppressive conditions
  • Tools to suppress non-conformist impulses
  • Or
  • Tools to resist social pressures: spam filters for the brain
  • Encourage individualism and expand choices

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

vaccines for addiction
Vaccines for Addiction

Vaccines and gene therapies to prevent or cure:

  • Alcoholism
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Heroin addiction
  • Nicotine dependency

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

protect enhance equality
Protect/enhance equality

Literacy: the first step to cyborgization

  • Health care divide, digital divide
  • Universal access necessary for individual opportunity and social equality
  • Only half of American kids with ADD who could benefit from stimulant drugs take them

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

ensure universal access to cognitive enhancement
Ensure Universal Accessto Cognitive Enhancement

“…enhancing intelligence or changing personality or modifying our memory, maybe that should be available to everyone as a guarantee of equal opportunity.”

Arthur Caplan

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Importance of cognitive libertyEvery person controlling their brain in self-determined ways
  • Need for a positive model of human personality

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies