Let’s anticipate the potential misuse of neurological data to minimize the risks–and maximize the benefits


The per­ils of open­ing the mind (Boston Globe):

For­get the joy­stick. Today you can use your mind alone to nav­i­gate vir­tu­al envi­ron­ments or fly real-world drones. You can buy sleek head­bands that read your brain sig­nals and help you med­i­tate or stay focused. Or you can get them for your kids to make sure they’re work­ing, not day­dream­ing

WHAT COULD BE done with infor­ma­tion derived from the brain? Large stores of data at the pop­u­la­tion lev­el could advance neu­ro­log­i­cal research. Long-term infor­ma­tion about your brain activ­i­ty could help you make lifestyle choic­es — like iden­ti­fy­ing the best meth­ods of reduc­ing stress in your life. The data also could help you and your doc­tor spot neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems ear­li­er than gen­er­al­ly hap­pens now.

But imag­ine, as well, the fol­low­ing scenarios:

–An employ­er wants to reduce the risk of on-the-job dis­abil­i­ty, so it screens appli­cants for neu­ro­log­i­cal mark­ers that they are pre­dis­posed to chron­ic pain and depression.

–A school sys­tem equips stu­dents with head­bands that mon­i­tor their state of focus, restrict­ing stu­dents’ cog­ni­tive free­dom and per­haps jus­ti­fy­ing cut­ting back on teachers.

–A gam­ing com­pa­ny tracks a user’s arousal pat­terns, fine-tun­ing the game to his or her pre­cise tastes, induc­ing behav­ioral addiction.

–A polit­i­cal cam­paign buys large vol­umes of neu­ro­log­i­cal data from a data bro­ker to iden­ti­fy indi­vid­u­als with hall­marks of impul­siv­i­ty and aggres­sion, then tar­gets them with polit­i­cal­ly rad­i­cal social media mes­sag­ing and advertising.”

News in Context:

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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