What are neurological rights and why are they important so that your brain is not “ manipulated ” – Explica .co
A few weeks ago, Elon Musk’s company Neuralink released an incredible video in which a nine-year-old monkey named Pager could be seen playing the classic video game Pong with his mind. At first, the monkey uses a joystick to interact with the computer while devices installed in your brain read your activity brain and a computer decodes it.
Once the technique has been learned, the Neuralink team disconnects the joystick and Pager continues to play without using anything other than his brain implant: welcome to the future. This technology powered by Elon Musk aims to help paralyzed patients use a computer or cell phone using only their brain activity.
While these types of projects can have very useful applications, they also have potential risks if used improperly: they could create soldiers with supercapacitors or send impulses to our brains through a simple cochlear implant. Hence the need for the so-called “ neuro rights ” therefore they cannot “manipulate” our brain.
Neuro-rights drivers are neuroscientists
“It is difficult to define the concept of neuro-rights. They are part of the new trend called fourth generation rights, that is, rights that affect legal rights affected by genetics, bioengineering… ”, he said. 20 minutes Vanesa Morente, collaborating professor at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas ICADE.
“It was the scientists and not so much the lawyers who led this initiative,” says Morente. The BRAIN project team, designed by Spanish neurologist Rafael Yuste of Columbia University (New York), has spent years fighting for advances in artificial intelligence do not violate people’s rights.
Neuroscience is a fascinating universe where everything remains to be discovered, the brain “is the only organ in the human body that we have not yet been able to fully decipher”, explains Morente. Launched in 2013, the BRAIN project is an ambitious scientific initiative where the best specialists in the world seek to “map” the human brain in all its dimensions in order to decipher its functioning and be able to cure illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression… “Right now, these diseases are treated from the symptoms, but not from the root,” says Morente.
They offer 5 neuro-rights
For their part, the experts propose five neuro-rights: the right to mental privacy, the right to personal identity, the right to free will, the right to increase neurocognition and the right to protection against prejudice.
“Neural activity readers are in development and may affect privacy. Imagine that they implant in me a device capable of reading what I’m about to do and sending it to a computer. It would be an absolute invasion of mental privacy. We need to know what can be done and how to protect this data “Morente points out.
Private technological companies like Google, Facebook, Apple… invest “enormous sums of money” in the development of this type of technology and “compete with the public, with the guarantor of human rights”, specifies the expert.
This is why the last of the five rights raised is necessary: the protection of prejudices or as Morente calls it distributive justice: “It is necessary that we can all have access to the advances that neuroscience can produce. Discrimination must be prohibited and distributive justice encouraged, as is now demanded with the covid-19 vaccine. “
Chile is a pioneer in the recognition of neurological rights
Governments are aware of the growing importance of regulating these rights and are beginning to open the debate to public opinion. Chile is just one step away from becoming the first country in the world to include neuro-rights in its constitution, a project that academics, international organizations, other countries and big tech companies are scrutinizing.
“In Chile, the question has already taken on a political body and it is a big step”, rejoices Morente, while also stressing that “one thing is recognition and another is a guarantee, it can remain as a simple toast in the sun. “
For its part, Spain presented last November the first draft of its Digital Rights Charter, a “non-binding declaration of intent” on the subject of neuro-rights. “We have to first define what they are, and then start regulating,” says Morente.
The human rights expert suggests that perhaps the UN should take the lead on this issue to provide a global and universal definition of neuro-law. “We are in a global world. There is no point in Chile or Spain recognizing neuro rights on a sectoral basis. On the contrary, neural havens can be created where to develop and install these devices. It must be clear that neuro rights must be regulated at a universal level, ”concludes Morente.