A Kickstarter launched a couple of days ago is already half way to letting you control a cockroach with your phone, but is this ethical?
I’m not sure where to begin on the ethics of this. On the up side, inspiring kids to learn about technology such as this could directly lead to promising careers resulting in the next generation of treatments. On the down side, we’re seeing completely uncontrolled experimentation on the brains of animals, which leaves a pretty bad taste in the mouth, to put it mildly. Does it matter that this is being conducted on creatures we routinely exterminate? If you’re intrigued by this debate, check out the University of Pennsylvania’s free upcoming online course on neuroethics. It won’t be long before the debate moves on to humans, see the paper just published in the Journal of Medical Ethics (OA) which discusses how “Swiss Army knives of human neuroscience” such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can be cracked together with “only a 9 V battery, about $50 worth of easy-to-source electronic parts and basic instructions”…
To be continued…
Read more at Wired, Mashable and Kickstarter. Also see the similar project involving the control of rats.
Fitz N.S. & Reiner P.B. (2013). The challenge of crafting policy for do-it-yourself brain stimulation, Journal of Medical Ethics, DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2013-101458
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