In case you didn't get the chance to attend this year, here is a brief summary of what you missed. The full list of events can be seen here and featured events from Day 1 of this year's meeting can be seen here.
This year INS hosted its annual meeting at the Carnegie Institution for Science. Day 2 of the annual INS meeting was an exciting and inspiring day featuring outstanding sessions. Each session highlighted some of the most pressing topics in the field of neuroethics.
The day opened with a panel on Neuroscience, National Security, and Society. The panel featured Jonathan Moreno, University of Pennsylania; William Casebeer, DARPA; and James Giordano, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Moreno is the author of the book Mind Wars. Moreno outlined the past, current, and potential uses of current neuroscience research in National Defense weaving a narrative from ingestion of cognitive-enhancing drugs, to external brain imaging, to more invasive brain-machine interface and beyond. Moreno noted that some experts had testified the science is not "ready" for such applications. However, those whose primary goal was National Defense might be more compelled by the reality that the technology is currently something a 20-year old soldier could learn to use in 20 minutes. Dr. Giordano suggested that conversations about neuroscience and defense have moved beyond whether or not we ought to weaponize neurotechnologies, but what what we should do when neurotechnologies do become weaponized. Giordano suggested that we should limit transparency about efforts to weaponize neurotechnologies to the general public and move forward with prudent communications in order to avoid inducing unwarranted mass public panic. Dr. Casebeer ended on a more optimistic front, stating that while there is peril associated with the use of neurotechnologies for national defense, by taking careful measures to protect human flourishing and autonomy, neurotechnologies hold the promise to help create a new generation of effective modes of neuro-defense.
The next session was led by self-described real life cyborg and author of World Wide Mind, Michael Chorost. Dr. Chorost has cochlear implants that allow him to hear, and in his talk he challenged us to explore how neurotechnology could improve humanity. Chorost noted that there are approximately 2 billion computers being used by 2 billion internet users, but this is no where close to the 100 billion neurons and all their synaptic connections in the human brain. Chorost envisions a future where brain transplants in otherwise healthy people might be used to make more sufficient and meaningful connections between people thereby creating a deeper awareness of those around us. Chorost views the internet as humanity's evolutionary assistant.
|Image from http://www.thesocializers.com|
|Illustration by Jeffrey Decoster|
If you missed this year's annual INS conference, don't despair. INS is already planning its next conference so stay tuned and check back at neuroethicssociety.org for updates.
For those of you that attend the Society for Neuroscience meeting, please let us know if you'd like to share any work that struck a neuroethics chord in you by commenting below (We are especially interested in events we may have missed from Nov 14-16, but we welcome your notes from previous days at SFN).
Want to cite this post?
Rommelfanger, K. (2011). International Neuroethics Society: Summary of what you (may have) missed! The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2011/11/international-neuroethics-society_13.html