Four Ethical Priorities for Neurotechnologies and AI

Four Ethical Priorities for Neurotechnologies and AI

Artificial intelligence and brain–computer interfaces must respect and preserve people’s privacy, identity, agency and equality, say Rafael Yuste, Sara Goering and colleagues.

Nature, 2017

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Neurotechnologies can help clinicians improve the life of people with serious physical impairments and illnesses. However, they may impact society’s understanding of identity and mental privacy. The Morningside Group, a group of neuroscientists, neurotechnologists, clinicians, ethicists and machine-intelligence engineers, proposes ethics guidelines to protect people, and urges governments, policy-makers and research institutions to start discussions about the safe use of these futuristic technologies.


The main applications for neurotechnologies are clinical treatments.

Neurotechnologies are currently used mainly for clinical treatment. They help to translate a person’s thoughts into physical actions. They can allow a person who is paralyzed to perform simple tasks like navigate a computer mouse cursor or operate an electronic wheelchair. 

Neurotechnologies have enormous clinical and social potential for improving human life.

Advances in neurotechnologies could radically change the way clinicians treat conditions like epilepsy and schizophrenia. They could also improve the quality...

About the Authors

The Morningside Group is a group of experts working in the field of neuroscience and includes scientists, technologists, clinicians, ethicists and machine-intelligence engineers. Rafael Yuste is professor of biological sciences at Columbia University, New York City, New York, USA. Sara Goering is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

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