Brain–Computer Interfaces: Lessons to Be Learned from the Ethics of Algorithms

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 27 (4):635-646 (2018)
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Abstract

:Brain–computer interfaces are driven essentially by algorithms; however, the ethical role of such algorithms has so far been neglected in the ethical assessment of BCIs. The goal of this article is therefore twofold: First, it aims to offer insights into whether the problems related to the ethics of BCIs can be better grasped with the help of already existing work on the ethics of algorithms. As a second goal, the article explores what kinds of solutions are available in that body of scholarship, and how these solutions relate to some of the ethical questions around BCIs. In short, the article asks what lessons can be learned about the ethics of BCIs from looking at the ethics of algorithms. To achieve these goals, the article proceeds as follows. First, a brief introduction into the algorithmic background of BCIs is given. Second, the debate about epistemic concerns and the ethics of algorithms is sketched. Finally, this debate is transferred to the ethics of BCIs.

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Andreas F. X. Wolkenstein
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München