In Brave Neuro World: The Ethics of the New Brain Science, an article in The Nation written by Kathryn Schulz, the prospect of official mind-reading looms large. Shulz distinguishes between “brain mapping” and “brain alteration” technologies. Brain mapping is passive but still potent – she points out that the criminal justice system has considerable interest in the area, both as a potentially infallible lie detector and as an indicator of criminal intent and propensity.

Shultz wants to raise consciousness of the ethical issues that will unfold so that they can be addressed in a thorough manner. She concludes somewhat optimistically that “… neuroethical issues are too complex for politics-as-usual — so complex, in fact, that they uncover concerns shared by most of us, right and left.” Since when have complex issues proven immune to politics-as usual? :)

Shulz gets a bit carried away with the fear that somehow neurotechnology will benefit the rich but not the poor (perhaps creating an underclass of neuro-deprived citizenry?), but article is a usefulread, though, if only to get an insight into the issues that technophobic alarmists will be raising in the coming years.

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