From the Independent:
New technologies that “intervene” in the brain, building superhuman capabilities and enabling users to operate weapons or wheelchairs with the power of thought alone, are on the market or under development…
But the rapid advance of the research is raising concerns that meddling with the brain could change people’s personalities, create bionic supermen for military applications or be used to control minds with disturbing implications for society.
Today the Nuffield Council for Bioethics launches a consultation on the ethics of the new technolgies, the global market for which it says is worth $8bn and “growing fast.”
“Intervening in the brain has always raised hopes and fears. Hopes of curing terrible diseases and fears about trying to enhance human capability beyond what is normally possible,” said Thomas Baldwin, chair of the study and professor of philosophy at the University of York. “This challenges us to think what makes us human and why we think and behave in the way we do.”
More information on the consultation exercise, including good summaries of the various medical technologies can be found at the Nuffield Council for Bioethics site.
Areas to think about:
- What are some of the ethical issues? Consider how you might define the nature of identity, issues around legal responsibility for actions, and areas around consent.
- What are some of the potential benefits?