The future of Neurotechnologies: benefits, challenges and social implications

September 3, 2020 12:00 - 1:30

Location: Virtual Room 1

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Movies and science fiction books have spread out the idea that human cognitive and motor capacities could be critically affected by developments in the field of artificial intelligence. Would the rapidly growing market of robotics, virtual reality and human-computer interfaces be able to change the way our human brain perform highly complex tasks? Could it also affect the way we interact with others?   Several experts have broadcasted that connecting our brain to a computer will become a reasonably common activity within a decade; with tens of millions of brain-machine interface (BMI) devices sold every year. In fact, it is thanks to the interplay between Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence that start-ups around the world are now focusing on the development of a next generation of devices that can ‘read’ human brain activity and ‘re-wire’ neural paths. Specifically, it is estimated that current spending on neurotechnology by for-profit industry is already US$100 million per year.   Besides these commercial efforts, scientists in Europe have been conducting frontier interdisciplinary research during the last decade investigating technological and societal challenges involved in the use of these technologies. The goal of the session is to showcase the experience of four ERC (European Research Council) grantees, who will present the state-of-the-art of these technologies and its level of development with regard to key human capacities such as Memory, Consciousness and Social skills. Growing potential, including clinical applications, societal challenges and also myths surrounding these advancements will be discussed in the session. "

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