4.1 Article

Recommendations for Responsible Development and Application of Neurotechnologies


Volume 14, Issue 3, Pages 365-386


DOI: 10.1007/s12152-021-09468-6


Identity; Agency; Enhancement; Privacy; Bias; Public policy


  1. NSF [DBI 1644405]
  2. IBM- Columbia University Data Science Institute
  3. Precision Medicine & Society Program, from Columbia University College of Physicians Surgeons

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The advancement of novel neurotechnologies has profound implications for society and individual rights, potentially challenging basic human concepts. To mitigate negative consequences, recommendations include establishing global ethical guidelines, enhancing data privacy protection, preventing bias, and ensuring safe and equitable distribution of neurotechnological devices.
Advancements in novel neurotechnologies, such as brain computer interfaces (BCI) and neuromodulatory devices such as deep brain stimulators (DBS), will have profound implications for society and human rights. While these technologies are improving the diagnosis and treatment of mental and neurological diseases, they can also alter individual agency and estrange those using neurotechnologies from their sense of self, challenging basic notions of what it means to be human. As an international coalition of interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners, we examine these challenges and make recommendations to mitigate negative consequences that could arise from the unregulated development or application of novel neurotechnologies. We explore potential ethical challenges in four key areas: identity and agency, privacy, bias, and enhancement. To address them, we propose (1) democratic and inclusive summits to establish globally-coordinated ethical and societal guidelines for neurotechnology development and application, (2) new measures, including Neurorights, for data privacy, security, and consent to empower neurotechnology users' control over their data, (3) new methods of identifying and preventing bias, and (4) the adoption of public guidelines for safe and equitable distribution of neurotechnological devices.


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