Machines intended to use technology to “hack” the human brain should be examined, say scientists. The BBC reports that these devices aim to “merge machines with human brain,” and can enable telepathy to a certain level. Because of this, researchers recommend scrutinizing ethical implications of such devices.
The study by top experts in the field titled iHuman: Blurring Lines between Mind and Machine tackled these issues. According to specialists, brain-to-computer technologies can pose advantages and disadvantages.
These devices can be used by implanting them into the human brain or nervous system. Users can also wear these externally. The main purpose of these mechanisms is to stimulate activity in the nervous system.
Experts claim that the tech can be advantageous to neural research as it can communicate using a “neural postcard.” This will allow users to see what the other users see even without being physically present.
It can also act as a telepathic communication device, which allows people to communicate without speaking. Lastly, downloading new skills is one of the potential features of this technology.
During the study, the researchers sought the reaction of the public regarding the prospective neural interface. The survey garnered overwhelming agreement for the device. The support is geared toward the use of the tech for medical purposes.
Next-generation neural interfaces (NGNI) Lab director Dr. Tim Constandinou at Imperial College London noted that these devices can pose a cure for nervous system-related conditions. This includes Alzheimer’s and paralysis.
However, the public expressed concerns over using the mechanism to enhance the faculties of users. Potential enhancements include improving memory and physical strength in healthy individuals.
Experts are also worried that the thoughts and moods of users may be accessed by other people, which is deemed unethical. Moreover, corporations getting a hold of these personal matters also have ethical repercussions.
Dr. Constandinou also remarked that the technology can be exploited toward unethical ends. He emphasized that specialists should make sure that there are “ethical and regulatory safeguards.” However, these safeguards should allow for developments, especially as the tech is still under development.
He also said that such technologies should be “implemented safely and for the benefit of humanity.” To achieve this, the co-chair of the report suggests that prospective ethical issues should be presented and addressed.
Moreover, a closed ecosystem should be developed to entice industries and universities to collaborate. Lastly, governments should also pose restrictions, especially to big tech companies.