Scientists Threaten to Boycott Brain Mapping Project

by Nicholas West

The warp-speed developments in neuroscience have prompted recent warnings from human rights organizations and prominent scientists alike that the pace of development in robotics, artificial intelligence, and human brain study is outpacing ethical parameters.

Now it appears that even scientists inside the field which is receiving a massive influx of money into this type of research are calling to put on the brakes before the initiative is completely misdirected and mismanaged.

Some of us have become concerned about neuroscience research conducted under Obama’s BRAIN project, as well as similar research sponsored by the European Union in even greater amounts of money – it approaches $2 billion combined. The goal so far has strongly stressed decoding the human brain and discovering new ways to develop both narrative and pharmaceutical mind control.

Combined with research into artificial intelligence, we are seeing a world beginning to emerge that could be populated with superhuman cyborgs and killer robots. Surely, there have to be better uses for this type of technology.

In fact, I have repeatedly criticized the many press releases in these areas as focusing solely upon the sales points of curing Alzheimer’s, post traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s and other organic brain injuries without at least acknowledging the darker applications that could arise when military funding is a large part of the origins for this research.

Finally, it seems that a growing number of scientists are going on the record to question if the current path of neuroscience is commensurate with the stated benefits to humanity. Hundreds of scientists are now threatening to boycott the entire European arm of the initiative if it doesn’t more clearly state its intent and correct some of its current flaws.

The scientists have issued an open letter to the European Commission stating their concerns about a project that they believe is going severely off track. One needs to read between the lines, but it is clear that transparency, governance, and conflicts of interest are key issues.

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