News  |    |  November 8, 2017

Four ethical priorities for neurotechnologies and AI

News article by Rafael Yuste, Sara Goering, et al.
Published in Nature.

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence and brain–computer interfaces must respect and preserve people’s privacy, identity, agency and equality, say Rafael Yuste, Sara Goering and colleagues.

Consider the following scenario. A paralysed man participates in a clinical trial of a brain–computer interface (BCI). A computer connected to a chip in his brain is trained to interpret the neural activity resulting from his mental rehearsals of an action. The computer generates commands that move a robotic arm. One day, the man feels frustrated with the experimental team. Later, his robotic hand crushes a cup after taking it from one of the research assistants, and hurts the assistant. Apologizing for what he says must have been a malfunction of the device, he wonders whether his frustration with the team played a part.

This scenario is hypothetical. But it illustrates some of the challenges that society might be heading towards. [ . . . ]