Abstract: Scientists, engineers, and healthcare professionals are currently developing a variety of new devices under the category of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). Current and future applications are both medical/assistive (e.g., for communication) and non-medical (e.g., for gaming). This array of possibilities comes with ethical challenges for all stakeholders. As a result, BCIs have been an object of both hope and concern in various media. We argue that these conflicting sentiments can be productively understood in terms of personhood, specifically the impact of BCIs on what it means to be a person and to be recognized as such by others. To understand the dynamics of personhood in the context of BCI use and investigate whether ethical guidance is required, a meeting entitled “BCIs and Personhood: A Deliberative Workshop” was held in May 2018. In this article, we describe how BCIs raise important questions about personhood and propose recommendations for BCI development and governance.


Sample Matthew, Aunos Marjorie, Blain-Moraes Stefanie, Bublitz Christoph, Chandler Jennifer, Falk Tiago, Friedrich Orsolya, Groetzinger Deanna, Jox Ralf, Koegel Johannes, McFarland Dennis, Neufield Valerie, Rodriguez-Arias David, Sattler Sebastian, Vidal Fernando, Wolbring Gregor, Wolkenstein Andreas, Racine Eric. Brain-Computer Interfaces and Personhood: Interdisciplinary Deliberations on Neural Technology. Journal of Neural Engineering, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1088/1741-2552/ab39cd.