Our goal is to host a Global Neuroethics Conference that will educate the general populace on the current exponential growth within the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology; while simultaneously elaborating on the need for new neuro-specific human rights. Lectures will be provided by a number of very distinguished speakers who have dedicated their lives to the fields of neuroscience, neuroethics, and human rights. An interactive Q&A session will take place near the end of the conference. This session will allow the attendees to ask the speakers any questions they may have regarding the topics that have been discussed. There will also be a segment during the conference which will allow the victims of human rights violations in the neurological field to give brief testimonials to the audience. A panel of legal experts, neuroscientists, technology developers, neuroethicists, and human rights advocates has been formed, and will continue accepting membership applications. This panel has created a rough draft of the Neuro-Specific Human Rights Bill, which will be distributed to all conference attendees. Discussion regarding the current state of the bill is highly encouraged as it will be presented to legislative assembly later in the year. All suggestions regarding any potential revisions to the bill will be acknowledged, reviewed, and deliberated by the panel. This conference will be covered by multiple media outlets, and representatives from all 4 major political parties will be invited.
The volume and variety of neurotechnology applications is rapidly increasing inside and outside the clinical and research setting. The ubiquitous distribution of cheaper, scalable and easy-to-use neuroapplications has the potential of opening unprecedented opportunities at the brain-machine interface level and making neurotechnology intricately embedded in our everyday life. While this technological trend may generate immense advantage for society in many ways, its implications for ethics and the law remain largely unexplored. We argue that in the light of the disruptive change that neurotechnology is determining in the digital ecosystem, the normative terrain should be urgently prepared to prevent misuse or unintended negative consequences. In addition, given the fundamental character of the neurocognitive dimension, we argue that such normative response should not exclusively focus on tort law but also on foundational issues at the level of human right law.
This proposal of neuro-specific human rights in response to emerging advancements in neurotechnology is consistent with and a logical continuation of the proposal of developing genetic-specific human rights in response to advancements in genetics and genomics as set out by the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, and the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data.
The freedom of thought, freedom from slavery, torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment are regarded by international human rights law as not subject to any exceptions and, therefore, as absolute rights. Absolute rights cannot be limited for any reason. No circumstance justifies a qualification or limitation of absolute rights. Absolute rights cannot be suspended or restricted, even during a declared state of emergency. The right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity, and the right to psychological continuity should also be enacted into law as absolute rights.
is Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program, and Scholar-in-Residence in the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, and is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA. He is also Distinguished Visiting Professor of Brain Science, Health Promotions and Ethics at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences, Coburg, Germany, and was formerly 2011-2012 JW Fulbright Foundation Visiting Professor of Neurosciences and Neuroethics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.
Dr. Giordano currently serves an appointed member of United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Council on Human Research Protections (SACHRP); and has served as an appointed member of the Neuroethics, Legal and Social Issues (NELSI) Advisory Panel of the Defense Advanced Research Projects’ Agency (DARPA), and Senior Science Advisory Fellow of the Strategic Multilayer Assessment Branch of the Joint Staff of the Pentagon.
Michael Hoffer, MD, FACS
is a Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami. Dr. Hoffer is also the director of the university’s Vestibular and Balance Program. He spent 20-plus years in the Navy studying mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), tinnitus, hearing loss, and vestibular disorders on active duty service members. Dr. Hoffer was lead author of the study, “Acute Findings in an Acquired Neurosensory Dysfunction,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology. The Miller School study included a review of 25 individuals at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba who reported a localized sensation of noise/pressure and 10 individuals who were roommates of those affected and did not experience the phenomenon.
Dr. Hoffer received his MD from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, did his residency at the University of Pennsylvania, held a Neurotology Fellowship at the Ear Research Foundation, and received his BS in Biology from Stanford University. He has published extensively and received research grants from the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and industry.
James Canton, PhD
is a renowned global futurist, social scientist, author, and visionary business advisor. As a former Apple Computer executive and high tech entrepreneur, he has been insightfully forecasting the key trends and technologies that have shaped our world. The Economist recognizes him as one of the leading global futurists. He has advised three White House Administrations and over 100 companies.
Dr. Canton has held a academic appointments at Singularity University at NASA, the Kellogg School of Management, MIT’s Media Lab, Europe, the Potomac Institute, and served on the International Advisory Council, Economic Development Board for the State Singapore, been an advisor to the National Science and Technology Council, US Departments of State, Defense and Health and Human Services.