Using the computer as an analogy for the brain has long been seen throughout our society (television, movies, literature, art, etc…). However, no longer is it merely a theoretical tool through which to conceptualize the technological world; it is now becoming a literal device. With brain-technology comes serious ethical questions and concerns. In his article for BBC New report “Consultation on brain technologies from medicine to warfare,” James Gallagher discusses how “the Nuffield Council on Bioethics has launched a public consultation on the ethics of the technology.” The study is being led by Prof Thomas Baldwin, from the University of York.
This is a fascinating study on the ethics of technology. I think it is more interesting that the it is part of a public consultation, after all it is something that will effect each of us. As Prof Baldwin says, “Intervening in the brain has always raised both hopes and fears in equal measure.Hopes of curing terrible diseases, and fears about the consequences of trying to enhance human capability beyond what is normally possible. These challenge us to think carefully about fundamental questions to do with the brain: what makes us human, what makes us an individual, and how and why do we think and behave in the way we do.”
Here is the link to the article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17208667. Be sure to check out the section “From Brain to Computer.” Apparently researchers are looking into the possibilities of soldiers being able to control devices thousands of miles away using just brains which would be hooked up to a computer!
According to Gallagher, “The public consultation will take place until 23 April 2012 and the council’s recommendations will be made next year.”