Thursday, 1 March 2012

Consultation on the ethics of the 'superbrain'


With certain brain stimulation treatments showing that it can actually improve our ability to learn a study is looking into the ethics surrounding 'superbrains'
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has started a public consultation looking into the positives and negatives ethically of using treatments such as brain stimulation for either military, medical or educational purposes.
Looking at both brain stimulation and also the technique of using our brains to control technology the consultation will be looking into the ethics surrounding these practices.

One of the main subjects for discussion will be neurostimulation such as TMS (Trasncranial Magnetic Stimulation), a non-invasive procedure that applies tiny electrical signals to the brain.
Recent studies by the University of Oxford discovered that if used on healthy brains, this previously medical procedure had the effect of increasing our brains ability to learn.
If perfected this procedure would mean that humans would be able to learn at much faster rates, something that while sounding cool as hell, is actually worrying scientists and experts rather a lot.
Elsewhere the consultation will be looking at the way our brains can be used as controllers, from military hardware to gaming and whether there are any long term negative impacts that could occur.
So while it will be looking at the practises closely it could also help speed up the safe development of tech that will see us controlling our next-gen Xbox just with our minds.
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