Ethical and Moral Considerations

Neuroethics encompasses the myriad ways in which development in basic and clinical neuroscience intersect with social and ethical issues (Farah, 2004). BCIs focusing on motor neuroprosthetics aim to either restore movement in individuals with paralysis or provide devices to assist them, such as interfaces with computers or robot arms.


The “ What We Know” Issues

  • Responsibility and Blame
  • Science and the Soul

Recent integration of information technology into the human nervous system has developed rapidly. While prosthetics has been around for many years, the technology today allows the product to be upgraded so that the person is in control of the prosthetics (Wolpe, 2007).

The ”What We Can Do” Issues

  • Imaging and mental privacy
  • Cyborg Brains
  • Medical enhancement (as opposed to therapy)

BCI in the last decade provides a most impressive hypothesis that brain activity can be "translated" into specific motions of mechanical or compute application. This technology will give the physiologist the ability to record and decode brain activity (Cohen & Birbaumer, 2007).

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In 2002, Jens Naumann, also blinded in adulthood, immediately after his implant, was able to use his imperfectly restored vision to drive slowly around the parking area of the research institute ("Animal & Human Research," 2009).

Matt Nagle a tetraplegia, became the first person to400px-BrainGate.jpg control an artificial hand using a BCI in 2005.Nagle to control a robotic arm by thinking about moving his hand as well as a computer cursor, lights and TV ("Animal & Human Research," 2009).

"Most of society will find nanotechnology and bioengineering as being morally and ethically unacceptable, but with education and implementation of this these new technology over time society may have a different view point" (Wagner, Cannon & Van Der Loos, 2005).