Ethical considerations on novel neuronal interfaces
Wireless powered implants, each smaller than a grain of rice, have the potential to scan and stimulate brain cells. Further research may lead to next-generation brain-machine interfaces for controlling prosthetics, exoskeletons, and robots, as well as “electroceuticals” to treat disorders of the brain and body. In conditions that can be particularly alleviated with brain stimulation, the use of such mini devices may pose certain challenges. Health professionals are becoming increasingly more accountable in decision-making processes that have impacts on the life quality of individuals. It is possible to transmit such stimulation using remote control principles. Perhaps, the most important concern regarding the use of these devices termed as “neural dust” is represented by the possibility of controlling affection and other mental functions via waves reaching the brain using more advanced versions of such devices. This will not only violate the respect for authority principle of ethics, but also medical ethics, and may potentially lead to certain incidents of varying vehemence that may be considered illegal. Therefore, a sound knowledge and implementation of ethical principles is becoming a more important issue on the part of healthcare professionals. In both the ethical decision-making process and in ethical conflicts, it may be useful to re-appraise the principles of medical ethics. In this article, the ethical considerations of these devices are discussed.
KeywordsNeuronal interfaces Clinical ethics Nanotechnology Neuroethics
Compliance with ethical standards
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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