A project proposal like uCepCortex or BioMedCEP has of course ethical issues, so we have to answer the accordant section of the submission template of the European Commission. The following could be discussed and "condensated" according to the template:
There are similar Brain Computer Interface projects which have already taken position (see e.g. Hyper Interaction Viability Experiments HIVE http://hive-eu.org/about/ethical_issues
). We fully agree with what is stated there. Furthermore we have since a while pointed on the CEP forum website to the fact, that of course the BioMedCEP-ideas and technologies of a uCepCortex can militarily or terroristically (mis-)used. But because we cannot inhibit anymore what is already massively begun (as we have tried to document in the threads of the CEP forum), we must face the problems and dangers early enough - in addition to the great chances, which the technology approach provides for our future (biological but enhanced) life and regarding health and medicin.
Some issues are special, if we enhance sensitivity ranges
and add new senses
to the human brain and body. In this case we actually change
the so-called Anthropic Principle (AP) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle
, which got a stronger relevance again in connection with the progress of Quantum Physics and the "second revolution" of the String Theory since 1995 (see also viewtopic.php?f=13&t=261&start=30#p1368
), and neuroscience sees more and more a connection to quantum physics in order to understand how the neurons communicate also between "far-distant" parts of the brain. If we realize such a Human-Machine-Confluence or such an enhanced Human Computer Interaction, the question raises what "anthropic" means in the future (also B. Carter himself (as the first author of the AP 1973) "... has frequently regretted his own choice of the word "anthropic," because it conveys the misleading impression that the principle involves humans specifically, rather than intelligent observers in general"). This is the main point of our U-CEP based project proposal which goes beyond the scope of other projects
in the fields of Cognitive Systems, BCI, HCI or robotics.
These questions are also addressed at some recent or upcoming "first annual" congresses (see Global Future – 2045 (GF-2045) “Modeling and Predicting Worldwide Dynamics” The First Annual Congress http://gf2045.com/program/
and the the video saluation of Nick Bostrom, or First NASA Quantum Future Technologies Conference 17-21 Jan 2012http://quantum.nasa.gov/
). The background is seen as a philosophical discussion as well and is related to such more recent ideas, e.g. the (weak or strong) self sampling assumptions and the probability that "our" reality is simulated
already (see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Bostrom
and his formula in http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.pdf
, p. 7). The question, which could be discussed, is: what is the difference between "simulated reality" and an uCepCortex, and what could prevent deception, if so.
Although there is an ongoing discussion about different aspects of AP until today, the more or less commonly agreed essence is that the principle should be used in its original form only to warn astrophysicists and cosmologists against possible errors in the interpretation of astronomical and cosmological data, if biological constraints of the observer
were not included. Projects like uCepCortex or BioMedCEP and other transhumanistic projects are primarily dealing with these biological constraints and also with the problem of Selective Perception (see e.g. http://www.jstor.org/pss/256343
, http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=sea ... -98459-020
The project is of course involved in the discussion about transhumanism and evolution
, see one of the recent videos http://exponentialtimes.net/videos/revolution
). Scientists like Nick Bostrom assert that the desire to regain youth, specifically, and transcend the natural limitations
of the human body, in general, is pan-cultural and pan-historical, and is therefore not uniquely tied to the culture of the 20th (now 21st) century. Bostrom argues that the transhumanist program is an attempt to channel that desire into a scientific project
on par with the Human Genome Project and achieve humanity's oldest hope, rather than a puerile fantasy or social trend. But anyway, the uCepCortex or BioMedCEP project does not address the transhumanistic anti-aging or immortality
discussion (see current articles like http://www.cnbc.com/id/46342312
). Such ethical questions might be related to the Substrate Independent Mind (SIM) or Whole Brain Emulation (WBE) or Mind Uploading (see e.g. http://www.carboncopies.org/our-company ... -questions
), what is not in the focus of our project.
Although humans will find themselves deeply integrated into systems of machines in the near future, they will (still) remain biological; but they become more and more Cyborg-aspects by replacing or enhancing "components" via "smart" prosthetics viewtopic.php?f=13&t=261&start=20#p1239
or other "add ons" (e.g. as wearable technologies viewtopic.php?f=13&t=299
). The last part of a human, which would not really make sense to be replaced, is the human brain because in this case humans could be replaced as a whole - what would have to be discussed with the AP. But it makes sense to enhance the human brain, and we do it since a long time, the question is always how far we should go and when we lose our identity. In contrast to genetic research and modification of the genetic code uCepCortex or BioMedCEP is not a permanent change of humans and could be reversed at any time.
Robotic projects like http://www.aliz-e.org/
investigate technologies and their ethics with respects to a human-machine coexistence, even the interaction of robots and children, storing memories in robotic "brains" to make robots more "intelligent" and to enable such self-sustaining and constructive interactions which take place between robot and human over days and weeks. The European Commission has already funded more than hundred of such robotics projects since 2007 in FP7 and sees it as an very important impact for the European competitiveness: "If successful, this research may lead to future applications, including the development of educational companion robots for young users. The next step in that journey is the ALIZ-E project taking robots out of the lab
and putting them to the test with young patients in a paediatric department at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan. Researchers will explore whether the robot can engage and maintain the child's interest during play by tailoring its own behaviour to the child's individual use of language, speech patterns, body language and play preferences. It will be hard to address many of Europe's coming challenges without use of robotics: an energy and resource-efficient economy, enabling workers with valuable experience to keep contributing, increasing independent living for elderly people, protecting against external and internal threats to security – all require robotic assistance." The future intelligence of such first robots must certainly be based on a sophisticated event processing in the sense of U-CEP.
Japanese Robot Riba for interactive Body Assistence. Also in Europe we are investigating on care-obots.http://rtc.nagoya.riken.jp/RI-MAN/index_us.html
South Korean telepresence-robot for teaching English in the city of Daegu since 2011http://singularityhub.com/2011/01/03/so ... -new-year/
The EU2012 Robotics Forum will take place in March http://www.europeanrobotics12.eu/program.aspx
All this is also in connection with the memory-prediction framework, what the team of Jeff Hawkins is developing viewtopic.php?f=13&t=257&start=20#p1370
. Such research does not directly have ethical implications. The goal is to invent a machine, which can store memories and complex event patterns as world knowledge in order to make predictions very much faster and more accurate than humans. The ethical question might be how to map such predictions to the human brain as our project will investigate and what means Free Will in the future - as an ongoing discussion (which we are trying to document especially in connection with U-CEP aspects viewtopic.php?f=13&t=257
). We will contribute with such ideas to conferences like the "NanoBioNet-conference and its question: Does High-Tech make the people better?" viewtopic.php?f=13&t=312
As also in accordance with the other related projects, we believe that the benefits of the project more than offset the potential dangers. These benefits include:
All these ethical implications will be directly studied within the projected work, and we will seek to inform, in a responsible way, project stake-holders and the public at large about the research, technologies and both their benefits and their dangers...