Neuroethical Responsibility – The New Frontier in BCI Development

Siddhant Dangi

Debates continue to rage around the ethical and responsible use of neural data. As advances in neuroscience expand due to more intuitive brain computer interfaces (BCIs), so does the data footprint gathered from this science. Which, if anything, is making people nervous. And so, it should.

It is not just a discussion for medical professionals; instead, it is a dialogue that calls for the continued input and observation of neuroscience researchers, technologists, lawyers, developers, philosophers, and even ethicists. The ethical, legal and even societal implications of not adopting a responsible neuroethical stance on collecting and using neural data are immense.

While neuroethics is not a new concept, it's an area that BCI developers need to be inserted into urgently. As BCIs gather more and more neural data, creating a never seen before window into the mind and behavior, technologists and developers must embrace neuroethical responsibility and put measures in place that protect this data on behalf of the individual.

At NexStem, we have identified three ethical dimensions we believe players in the BCI field need to address:

1) Protection of the privacy and confidentiality of neural data
Neural data is exceptionally sensitive data, and the interpretation of this data can unveil the perception, thoughts, memories, and emotions of a person. Therefore, every developer and retailer of BCI solutions should commit and enter into a privacy and confidentiality agreement with clients.

2) Attention to possible misuse of neuroscience tools and technologies
Innovative tools and technologies associated with neural data can be used for both good and bad. It is an unfortunate bi-product of human nature. Regulatory frameworks need to be put in place to govern the development of the applications processing and gathering this data, ultimately guiding its responsible use.

3) Educate and resolve consumer and industry concerns about neural data
People are understandably guarded about their thoughts and the information collected from their brains. When working with a person's neural data, an organization needs to act with total transparency about how that data will be used. And the person on the other end of the process whose data you are unearthing needs to have complete visibility into what has been collected and where it will be used. It's about continuous education.

At NexStem, we support only the responsible neuroethical use of neural data. We are building security and privacy frameworks, not dissimilar to data protection laws you see the world over, into our solutions to ensure the ethical, responsible, and legal use of all data gathered and processed by our BCI software and devices.

Want to talk neuroethics? Want to develop your own BCI solutions?Learn more at www.nexstem.ai.