Neuroethics Inside and Out: A Comparative Survey of Neural Device Industry Representatives and the General Public on Ethical Issues and Principles in Neurotechnology

Katherine E. MacDuffie, Scott Ransom, Eran Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Neurotechnologies are rapidly being developed with the aim of alleviating suffering caused by disease and assisting individuals with various disabilities. As the capabilities and applications of neural devices advance, potential ethical challenges related to agency, identity, privacy, equality, normality and justice have been noted. We sought to explore attitudes toward these ethical challenges in two important, but understudied groups of stakeholders—members of the neural device industry and members of the general public. Survey responses from 66 industry professionals and 1088 members of the general public who do not work with neural devices were collected. After controlling for demographic differences between the groups (industry vs. general public; age, gender, racial/ethnic background), we found a large degree of consistency between the groups in their attitudes toward the ethical topic areas and the need for guiding ethical principles, but also some differences related to privacy, consent, and confidence in the neural device industry to incorporate ethical concerns into the design process. These data have implications for industry professionals tasked with designing and disseminating new neural devices, end-users of their products, and stakeholders at each step in between who must navigate the rapidly-growing landscape of advances in neurotechnology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAJOB Neuroscience
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Brain computer interfaces
  • neuroethics
  • neurotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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