Brain-Computer Interaction and Medical Access to the Brain: Individual, Social and Ethical Implications


This paper discusses current clinical applications and possible future uses of brain-computer interfaces as a means for communication, motor control and entertainment. After giving a brief account of the various approaches to direct brain-computer interaction, the paper will address individual, social and ethical implications of BCI technology to extract signals from the brain. These include reflections on medical and psychosocial benefits and risks, user control, informed consent, autonomy and privacy as well as ethical and social issues implicated in putative future developments with focus on human self-understanding and the idea of man. BCI use which involves direct interrelation and mutual interdependence between human brains and technical devices raises anthropological questions concerning self-perception and the technicalization of the human body

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