Ethical Considerations for Emergent Neuroprosthetic Technology
|Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In the 21st century, there is a push towards producing neurotechnology that will make our lives easier. A category of these technologies are neuroprosthetics, devices that can supplement or supplant the input or output of the nervous system to obtain normal function (Leuthardt, Roland, and Ray, 2014). In the emergence of these technologies, there are ethical issues presented and a question is formed: are we fixing what is not broken? (Moses, 2016).
|A cochlear implant
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In our society, we have been taught certain norms and have adapted ways to police each other to conform to these norms. One of these taught “normalities” is the idea that there are five senses that function in a specific way, and one mind that responds to external and internal stimuli in a specific manner (Moses, 2016). For example, some in the deaf community fight against the use of cochlear implants, as deaf individuals view themselves and their community as fully functional individuals who can function without these neuroprosthetic devices (Gupta, 2014)—they do not need devices to obtain normality. In fact, these individuals who fall below “normal range” in their lack of hearing suggest that differences and diversity of abilities and skills can all fall within a typical range of variation (Moses, 2016). Redefining normality, while a tremendous task, could be a next step instead of producing more neuroprosthetics.
Emily Sanborn is entering her fourth year of undergraduate study at Emory University where she is pursuing a double major in Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology and Environmental Science. Her academic interests focus on exploring ecological processes, and how they can influence the spread and creation of diseases – particularly neurological diseases. This year, she will be completing an honor’s thesis in the Caudle Lab at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, where she’ll be using in vitro and in vivo techniques to investigate the neurotoxic effects of insecticides and flame retardants.
Want to cite this post?
Sanborn, E. (2018). Ethical Considerations for Emergent Neuroprosthetic Technology. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2018/10/ethical-considerations-for-emergent.html