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Neurotechnology. The future is now.

June 5, 2024

The technology behind the phenomenon of Targeted Surveillance. Is it good or bad?

After a short introductory in the previous article about targeted surveillance, it is time to dive deeper and see the picture from the inside out. Despite the fact that neurotechnology is being increasingly used for targeted surveillance, violating a number of individual and civil rights, it also has immense potential for benevolent causes.

To start with the basics: what is neurotechnology? Neurotechnology is technology that helps assess, access, and affect human brain cognitive processes. Nowadays, advanced neurotech has the ability to interact with the human brain in a non-invasive way, meaning remotely. This encompasses such methods as electroencephalography (EEG) and more advanced brain-computer interfaces (BCIs).

It is impressive how far advancements have gone in neuroscience and neurotechnology development in the recent decade or two. Consequently, the scale of use has expanded drastically. The use cases can be found in domains such as clinical, para-clinical, military, and public. The potential capability of neurotechnology is highly extensive in the medical field (psychiatry, rehabilitation, neurology, neurosurgery). Neurotechnology can be used to treat patients with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and various impairments linked to neurological conditions such as epilepsy, learning disabilities, neuromuscular disorders, etc.

Additionally, the exponential growth of various neurotech devices and applications is predicted due to rapid improvements in neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

At the same time, this process will contribute to the massive collection of consumers' neurodata both at home and in the workplace. As a derivative, it can and will have a tremendous effect on people's privacy. As per referring to ICO report, neurodata is subconsciously generated and people have no direct control over the specific information that is disclosed. There is no specific definition of neurodata as either a specific form of personal information or a special category of data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It is a great time we live in, allowing us to witness breakthroughs in technology and bioscience where we have a wonderful chance to become part of something bigger and evolve overall as a human species.

Therefore, it is important to do our part and create a conducive environment for neuroscience to advance further, but in a controlled and mindful way. We need to bring more public awareness about this topic. As neuroscience and neurotechnology are soon to become involved in our daily lives, it is imperative that we have proper legislation and regulations in place that prevent misconduct and private life intervention. The application of neurotechnology has to be fully assessed, explored, and put into the right ethical and legal framework, in order to serve people for their benefit.

There is a huge field of work to be done in terms of human rights and social impact assessment for human rights advocates, legal workers, policymakers, and other experts in related areas. The misuse or failure to comply with the ethical norms and standards (that are yet to be established) may represent a series of repercussions across all the domains of use mentioned, and beyond.

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