Three Ethical Guidelines regarding the Rapid Social Development of Brain-Machine Interfaces Published in the Science Magazine ―Research results of an international and interdisciplinary team comprising of neuroscientists, ethicists, jurists and pedagogists―
July 13, 2017 Keio University
Associate Professor Junichi Ushiba of the Department of Biosciences and Informatics (Laboratory for Rehabilitation Neuroscience) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at Keio University has, in collaboration with research groups in Germany, the United States, Canada, and Switzerland, formulated three ethical guidelines to be observed in relation to the rapid social development of Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI). These have been published as a declaration in Science, one of the world’s top three journals in the field of life sciences (published on June 30, 2017, Eastern Standard Time).
Considerable progress is currently being made in the development of BMI technology, which creates direct links between the brain and machines, and numerous corporations such as Facebook, Neuralink, and Panasonic have announced its commercialization. On the other hand, ethical concerns on the rights and wrongs of the cyborgization of human beings and the dangers of having one’s thoughts read by BMIs are rapidly spreading throughout society. This declaration is expected to encourage corporations engaged in the industrialization of BMIs to observe and disclose their code of conduct, and to become a global standard for the implementation of BMI ethics. Furthermore, it is expected to lead to the enactment of scientifically appropriate legislation and social acceptance based on correct knowledge of BMIs.