Advances in Brain-Machine Interfaces: Applications and Implications

Sunday, February 17, 2013: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 302 (Hynes Convention Center)
Recent developments in the science of brain-machine interfaces are taking this field to unprecedented heights. Neuroprosthetics cannot only be controlled through electrical signals in the brain, but may soon provide sensory information through brain-machine-brain interfaces. Skin-mounted “tattoo electronics” demonstrate the potential for wireless and near-seamless monitoring of brain activity and communication between brains and computers. While these and other developments promise to vastly improve the quality of life of patients ranging from amputees to those suffering from paralysis, should we be concerned about the technology’s other ramifications? How should we consider its use when taken outside of need-based situations? To what extent might it be integrated into our everyday lives, and what should scientists and the public understand about its potential? More broadly, what does the technology suggest about what it means to be human? This symposium will review the most current research in the field and consider its implications from scientific, technological, ethical, and theological perspectives.
Peyton West, AAAS Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs
Jennifer Wiseman, AAAS Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs
Peyton West, AAAS Science and Policy Programs
Todd Coleman, University of California
Wireless Tattoo Electronics
Nicolas Nova, Near Future Laboratory
Brain-Machine Interfaces in the Real World
Martha J. Farah, University of Pennsylvania
Ethical and Societal Implications of Brain‑Machine Interfaces
Brent Waters, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Brain-Machine Interfaces and Personhood