Neurotech and the Growing Battle for Our Brains

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Circuit board brain

Have you ever wanted to figure out when you’re the most focused? Or how your moods change throughout the day? How “fit” your brain is, or whether your insomnia is really as bad as you think?

Neurotech devices promise to deliver insights. These are cutting-edge gadgets that pick up on the electrochemical signals inside of our brains, and are connected to algorithms that analyze and interpret that data.

Brain technology offers all kinds of exciting possibilities — from treating conditions like epilepsy or depression, to simply maximizing our brain health. But medical ethicists are already raising the alarm about potential dangers — for example, how are employers using this tech to monitor their employees? What happens when their brain metrics don’t meet standards?

On this episode, we dive into some of these thorny questions with Nita Farahany, a leading scholar on the social, legal, and ethical implications of emerging technologies, and some of the conclusions she’s come to in her new book, “The Battle for Your Brain: Defending the Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology.”

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • We chat with Roy Hamilton, a neurologist and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, about how brain stimulation is being used. He directs the Penn Brain Science, Translation, Innovation, and Modulation (brainSTIM) Center. We’ll also hear from an at-home user about how it improved his life.

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