"Imagine that a company that is interested in dealing with our company's personal data has data about what we do, as well as data about what we do and do." This phrase sounds like an introduction to the series "Black Mirror" series, but it is passed on to the BBC's Mundo Rafael Yuste, director of the Neuroscience Center at Columbia University in New York.
Yuste is one of the scientists who decided to regulate the use of neurological technology in the future. It is a tool currently developed to map and modify human brain activities.
Yuste, a spokesman for the group of 25 scientists and engineers, proposed in 2017 to include five nondeliverable nerves in the human rights charter.
- Mental privacy
- Personal identity
- Free will
- Equal access
- Without discrimination
He visited Santiago de Chile last June. The Senate Technical Committee of Chile organized the future Congress, attended by world – class scientists and intellectuals every year.
In this case, scientists have begun talks in the future to include these neurological rights in the Chilean Constitution. "Chile will be a precedent," he says. "I am happy to be able to do it."
100 billion neurons
Yuste was one of the first advisors of the "Brain" project, launched in 2013 by US President Barack Obama at the time, to promote and fund nerve technology to "map" the brain.
A researcher who was born in Madrid a year ago, was named one of the most influential scientists in the world by the British magazine "Nature".
"Obama started the brain 's project with the start of the space race," recalls Uster. In this race, the United States today travels with other countries. Japan, China, Korea, Australia, Canada, Israel, and Europe.
Yuste explains the scientific appeal of the project. "The brain works electronically, we have 100,000,000 neurons in the skull, numbers and connections are astronomical, and our heads have more connections and nodes than the Earth's entire Internet," he explains.
"All the complexity of a neuron occurs electronically and through processes that we do not understand – vision, sensation, action, idea, memory, emotion, conscience, mind, everything we get, It is important to have nerve skills. "
The risk of "augmented" people
Neurotechnology uses optical, electronic, magnetic, and nanotechnology to understand these processes and to "read and write" brain activity in the future. "This is similar to having to decode the human genome," says Yuste, "nobody knows who will go first." "But the specific thing is that someone arrives and opens new opportunities and risks," he said.
"In the United States, a flexible 2-square-meter computer chip with a thickness of 100 microns is being manufactured to implant under the brain's skull," Yuste says. "After intervention, a person can wear a cap or helmet with electronic components that can control the chips implanted in the brain."
This nerve technology is designed, for example, to connect the camera to an invisible patient and transmit the image to the brain via the chip.
"We know that vision occurs in the cerebral cortex and that most blindness is caused by the problem of the eye.This blind patient can be equipped with a visual aid connected to the camera.The camera works like the eye and the cortex.I have the prosthesis I get a signal and I see a person, "the scientist explains to the BBC.
"But imagine that you have the same prosthetic prosthesis installed on a person you see well – the prosthesis is no longer connected to the camera, it is connected to a group of cameras that can be seen in the infrared, or cameras installed elsewhere on the planet. A television screen that you can read. "
"He was able to recognize things that others could not do, access to information that the rest could not have, and become an" augmented person "combined with an artificial intelligence system By detecting each person's information, this type of neuroscience must be regulated before it's too late. "
According to Yuste, another danger of neural technology is military use. The same chips implanted in the brain that can receive information can be delivered from the brain to the robotic arm or tank.
There is no standard for neural technology being developed today. There is no law to prioritize patients with disabilities or healthy people who want to "increase" their abilities.
There is also no restriction on theft or manipulation of brain data. "I have a very positive view of neuroscience, and I think it is essential to develop them to help people with neurological or mental illnesses, but the same tools can be used, good or bad," the scientist says.
Yuste explains to BBC Mundo one of his five nerve rights to try to avoid the misuse or inequality that could be generated by neural technology.
The subject is already concerned about some parts of the scientific community. In addition to Yuste and his group, in the same year, in 2017, Marcelo Ilenca, a neuro-ethics expert and Marcelo Adorno, a Swiss human rights lawyer, posted another document on the same line, warning about the same topic.
The first nerve rule is mental privacy. "We want it to be a fundamental human right: without your consent, we can not extract the content of your mind and we have the same legal cures as human institutions," Yuste explains.
Personal identity and free will is the two rights that neurology can guarantee in a world that can affect cognitive abilities and personal decisions, the scientist explained.
"Imagine an example of a soldier able to handle it from the outside. Connecting your mind to the network through artificial intelligence can completely disassociate your identity and improve your decision-making skills."
The fourth right is to ensure a fair access to neural technology. "These technologies are very expensive and are accessible only to specific social groups in certain countries." In the case of neural technology used to enhance specific senses or cognitive abilities, we want to avoid social fractures that have excellent ability. Other ".
Yuste suggests an example of a transplant operation. "When we are waiting for organs in many institutions today, the medical community must define the possibilities of determining who will be transplanted according to medical standards and definitions, and to increase capacity through neurotechnology on the same basis." Speaks
The fifth right aims to protect people from prejudice and discriminatory characteristics of AI algorithms. "If we decide to use artificial intelligence algorithms that change the function of your brain from the outside, we must be careful that these algorithms do not project these deflections into your brain, otherwise we will have a more peaceful and peaceful society There will be no way to create it. "" New Rebirth "
Yuste hopes for both neuroscience and the ability of mankind to control them. "This technology will affect society as a whole and we will be able to treat patients, but we will also open new fields of development so that we can change education and justice."
"Today we educate our children in ways inherited from the past, but if we understand how the mind works, we can get a more efficient education," he says. "Today, we take a criminal and take him, but if he understands why he did what he did, the criminal will become a patient."
"I think we are in a new regeneration, at first humans began to understand their role in the world, and now we can understand ourselves from within and finally understand what we are."
"But in the past, it is up to us as society to make rules that these nerve skills are to be used in the common good, and now it is time to do it," he concludes.