Wednesday, 2 September 2009


“Neuromarketing will always have ethical problems and I would always argue against using it,” says Haynes. “In the academic world, brain-imaging institutes are very strong on data protection. But as soon as these practices become commercial? It’s very worrying.”
Hank Greely, a professor at Stanford Law School, sighs heavily as he considers how cod brain science may increasingly distort many court judgments. Greely is a pioneer of “neurolaw”, and his faculty has been awarded a $10 million grant to explore the legal and ethical implications of neuroscientific advances.

[...] Perhaps a statutory right to “mental privacy” could help to set boundaries. This is a central aim of the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, an American organisation lobbying for laws to define the contents of a human skull as private property. Wrye Sententia, a thirtysomething creative-writing lecturer at the University of California, Davis, is one of the co-founders. She fears that the time is rapidly passing when legislation could be introduced to protect our inner selves from public scrutiny.

“In the American legal system, one benchmark for making a technology admissible as evidence is whether it is widely used. So the kind of ‘wish-fulfilment use’ we are seeing is dangerous. Once it has crossed the line and is used in court, then it is hard to step back,” she says. “The right to brain privacy will be very questionable once people have accepted the technology.”

Another challenge to mental-privacy campaigners is the “What have you got to hide?” refrain, adds Sententia: “You may look guilty through refusal. It is like having CCTV cameras tracking people all over the place. That is now widely accepted and understood.”
The Times Febuary 28, 2009


  1. Borges might be of interest?

    "mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of men."

  2. I have a collection of his work that's been staring at me from a shelf for about three years now. On your recommendation I am going to blow the dust from it.

  3. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius is literally about re-making the world (The 'hronir' are pretty interesting, thoughts as objects). the Circular Ruins sees a man dream himself into existence (Well that's how I read it).
    Rob (aka Kirraro as above)