Scientific advances from deep brain stimulation to wearable scanners are making manipulation of the human mind increasingly possible, creating a need for laws and protections to regulate use of the new tools, top neurologists said on Thursday.
A set of “neuro-rights” should be added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations, said Rafael Yuste, a neuroscience professor at New York’s Columbia University and organizer of the Morningside Group of scientists and ethicists proposing such standards. Five rights would guard the brain against abuse from new technologies — rights to identity, free will and mental privacy along with the right of equal access to brain augmentation advances and protection from algorithmic bias, the group says.
“If you can record and change neurons, you can in principle read and write the minds of people,” Yuste said during an online panel at the Web Summit, a global tech conference.
“This is not science fiction. We are doing this in lab animals successfully.”
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