The purpose of this study is to think ahead into the year 2035 and reflect on the ethical implications of brain-to-brain linking.
It is quite likely that the direction of technological research today is heading toward a closer integration of mind and machine in 2035. What is interesting is that the integration also makes mind-mind or brain-brain integration possible too. There is nothing in principle that would prevent hooking up more than one brain to a machine, or connecting two or more brains together to harness their processing power to tackle a very complicated task. If that happens, the whole notion of what it is to be an individual and a self will have to be rethought. I have offered a way in which that can be done: Instead of viewing the self as being contained in a closed space traditionally defined by the skin, the self can expand outside of the skin and merge temporarily with other selves too. This also has profound implications on the notion of privacy, especially on how it is conceptualized and justified.
This research is limited to theoretical argumentation only. It relies on the current empirical and scientific investigations that are going on at the moment and provide ethical reflections on them.
We need to anticipate technological innovations to be more proactive in deliberating and formulating policy and ethical guidelines; otherwise, ethicists will just muse after the fact, implying that there is nothing further to be done.
Brain-to-brain linking has tremendous social implications, so is the ethical reflection on the issue.
Argument purporting to show the specific content in ethical guidelines on brain-to-brain interlinking based on the metaphysics of the self that is directly implicated by the technology has not been done before, according to the author’s best knowledge.
Research for this paper has been supported partially by a grant from the World Class University Project, Chulalongkorn University, grant no. WCU-H3-064-57. The first draft of the paper was presented at the ETHICOMP conference in Paris, in June 2014. Author would like to thank Charles Ess and Bernd Carsten Stahl for their comments and support. Special gratitude is also extended to the anonymous reviewers of this paper and to Profs Rao and Stocco for granting their permission to use the diagram of their research.
Hongladarom, S. (2015), "Brain-brain integration in 2035: metaphysical and ethical implications", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 13 No. 3/4, pp. 205-217. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-10-2014-0042Download as .RIS
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