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Researchers propose four “neurorights” to harness neurotechnology for good: cognitive liberty, mental privacy, mental integrity, and psychological continuity

A new cat­e­go­ry of human rights: neu­ror­ights (Bio­Med Cen­tral):

Neu­ro­science pro­vides us with an insight into the men­tal process­es under­pin­ning human behav­ior: thanks to rapid advances in neu­rotech­nol­o­gy it is pos­si­ble to record, mon­i­tor, decode and mod­u­late the neur­al cor­re­lates of men­tal process­es with ever more accu­ra­cy. In this rapid­ly evolv­ing tech­no­log­i­cal sce­nario, a new paper, pub­lished in Life Sci­ences, Soci­ety and Pol­i­cy, advo­cates for recon­cep­tu­al­iz­ing and even cre­at­ing new human rights: the right to cog­ni­tive lib­er­ty, men­tal pri­va­cy, men­tal integri­ty, and psy­cho­log­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity.”

The Paper

Towards new human rights in the age of neu­ro­science and neu­rotech­nol­o­gy (Life Sci­ences, Soci­ety and Pol­i­cy). From the con­clu­sion:

The vol­ume and vari­ety of neu­rotech­nol­o­gy appli­ca­tions is rapid­ly increas­ing inside and out­side the clin­i­cal and research set­ting. The ubiq­ui­tous dis­tri­b­u­tion of cheap­er, scal­able and easy-to-use neu­roap­pli­ca­tions has the poten­tial of open­ing unprece­dent­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties at the brain-machine inter­face and mak­ing neu­rotech­nol­o­gy intri­cate­ly embed­ded in our every­day life. While this tech­no­log­i­cal trend may gen­er­ate immense advan­tage for soci­ety at large in terms of clin­i­cal ben­e­fit, pre­ven­tion, self-quan­tifi­ca­tion, bias-reduc­tion, per­son­al­ized tech­nol­o­gy use, mar­ket­ing analy­sis, mil­i­tary dom­i­nance, nation­al secu­ri­ty and even judi­cial accu­ra­cy, yet its impli­ca­tions for ethics and the law remain large­ly unex­plored. We argue that in the light of the dis­rup­tive change that neu­rotech­nol­o­gy is deter­min­ing in the dig­i­tal ecosys­tem, the nor­ma­tive ter­rain should be urgent­ly pre­pared to pre­vent mis­use or unin­tend­ed neg­a­tive con­se­quences. In addi­tion, giv­en the fun­da­men­tal char­ac­ter of the neu­rocog­ni­tive dimen­sion, we argue that such nor­ma­tive response should not exclu­sive­ly focus on tort law but also on foun­da­tion­al issues at the lev­el of human right law.

Thou canst not touch the free­dom of my mind

John Mil­ton”

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