Correcting the Brain? The Convergence of Neuroscience, Neurotechnology, Psychiatry, and Artificial Intelligence

Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (5):2439-2454 (2020)
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The incorporation of neural-based technologies into psychiatry offers novel means to use neural data in patient assessment and clinical diagnosis. However, an over-optimistic technologisation of neuroscientifically-informed psychiatry risks the conflation of technological and psychological norms. Neurotechnologies promise fast, efficient, broad psychiatric insights not readily available through conventional observation of patients. Recording and processing brain signals provides information from ‘beneath the skull’ that can be interpreted as an account of neural processing and that can provide a basis to evaluate general behaviour and functioning. But it ought not to be forgotten that the use of such technologies is part of a human practice of neuroscience informed psychiatry. This paper notes some challenges in the integration of neural technologies into psychiatry and suggests vigilance particularly in respect to normative challenges. In this way, psychiatry can avoid a drift toward reductive technological approaches, while nonetheless benefitting from promising advances in neuroscience and technology.



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Stephen Rainey
Oxford University

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