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This podcast's purpose is to bring together the field of neuroprosthetics / brain machine interfaces / brain implants in an understandable conversation about the current topics and breakthroughs. We hope to replace needing to read scientific papers on new research in an easy to digest way. Then people can share thoughts or ideas to facilitate 'idea sex' to make the field of brain implants a smaller and more personal space

May 27, 2019

Doctor Henry Greely is a professor of law at Stanford University. His primary focus surrounds discussing the ethics of biological innovation and their implications to society. He is the president and founder of the International Neuroethics Society. In this episode, he delves into the complications associated with developing ethics in the similarly developing fields of biotechnology.

Top Three Takeaways:

  1. There are gaps in the ethical standards surrounding new biomedical advancements.
  2. Researchers should treat patients in their best interest once they are implanted with biomedical devices.
  3. Is there a moral difference between implantable devices and external smartphones?

Show Notes:

[0:00] Ladan introduces the episode and Doctor Henry Greely who will be speaking about Neuroethics.

[1:50] Greely explains how he is a law professor and delves into the different areas of law he has worked in.

[3:00] Greely also explains the different subjects associated with the ethical arguments in biomedical advancements.

[5:30] There are gaps in the ethical standards surrounding new biomedical advancements; Greely specifically mentions the recent experiment of keeping a sheep brain alive.

[6:15] Greely looks at the social, legal and ethical consequences of new advancements in technologies emerging in the next twenty to thirty years.

[8:30] Stem cell research has followed ethical guidelines created in 2005 that are not forced by law; they give a piece of mind to institutions and researchers.

[11:00] It is much harder to make differences in subjects that are highly politicized.

[12:00] Greely looks at bioethics as a way to do research in safe and acceptable ways; he then goes into detail of ostracization cases where people went against ethics.

[15:00] Greely and his colleagues seek ethical guidelines for patients who finish their clinical trials and continue with life afterward.

[16:30] Researchers should treat patients in their best interest once they are implanted with biomedical devices.

[19:30] A grant would be useful to draft a set of guidelines when it comes to biomedical advancements.

[21:30] Greely makes it clear that enhancement occurs in our world all the time through activities such as teaching.

[23:00] The letterbox region activates when someone learns to read and sees the writing.

[24:30] The internet serves as a major human enhancement; Greely poses the question between the moral difference between internal and external human enhancements.

[28:30] Neural implant enhancements are not a very big concern for ethics right now because they require electrodes to be placed in the brain.

[31:30] The smartphone has been adopted extremely quickly considering they are only eleven years old.

[33:30] Greely does not see a moral difference between implantable devices and external smartphones.

[36:30] Social etiquettes emerge according to the masses with new technology; these social reactions are hard to predict.

[38:30] Wearable technology may be helpful, but it opens up a problem with data security.