Brain-Scanning Tech may Threaten our Right to Cognitive Liberty

Your thoughts are your own, are they not?


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Thought refers to ideas or arrangements of ideas that are the result of the process of thinking. Your thoughts, ideas, and actions contained within your own mind should be yours, and yours alone.

To study the thoughts of the human mind, scientists have developed new brain-imaging/ brain-scanning tech. As reported, this tech may encroach the way of thinking, and pose the question: is it our right to control our own thoughts and processes?

Trusting that we ought to be the ones responsible for our psyches is known as cognitive liberty. If asking the same question to ourselves, most of us most would agree that yes abandons saying. But, if thinking about its benefits in medical science, the answer may be different.

Years before, India has decided to use such brain-scanning tech in a court case involving a woman convicted of murder. The judge, referring to check the lady’s mind, reasoned that she has ‘experiential information’ about the wrongdoing that lone the executioner could have. Thus, he decided to prompt her lifelong incarceration in jail.

Santa Fe Institute (SFI) CEO and complexity theorist David Krakauer said, “how lazy people can be when it comes to making decisions or using effort; how people are more likely to give up some form of control to technology to make things easier for themselves.”

“What I worry about almost more than anything else is a certain kind of mental laziness, and an unwillingness to engage with the difficult issues. It’s somehow more pressing in a time where there are systems out there willing to make the decisions for you.”

Brain-scanning tech is not only used in general public but also aforementioned medical and legal areas. It’s another benefit involves neurotechnology, but the risks and unintended consequences need to be addressed.

In actual, brain-scanning tech and tools make it possible to benefit society. But it needs an open conversation about cognitive liberty.

Neuroethicist Paul Root Wolpe said, “This is something, as a society, we’re going to have to work out, but I really believe that it’s going to all happen very soon and that it’s very important for everybody to think about where they would want [the limits of cognitive privacy] set.” 


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