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Is it necessary to support human brain activities with the help of technologies?

October 16, 2019

 Is it necessary to support human brain activities with the help of technologies?

The human should not be ‘designed out’ of technology, instead the human should be put at the centre. A human-centred design approach that does not narrowly focus on the individual but takes into account the wider socioeconomic context, can bring to light a broader, and different, range of social and ethical issues. It is paramount that strategic choices and decisions driving research and innovation for future computing and robotics rely on such an approach.
No technology that uses the brain as its inspiration should neglect the capacity of the brain, in constant interaction with its interpersonal and physical environment, to develop and sustain a social and emotional mind. This is especially the case for applications in the domain of care (for older people, those with disabilities, children), which is a human interaction involving genuine reciprocation of feelings and obligations, and these entail the kinds of high level affective and interpersonal skills that are currently challenging for machine intelligence. Affective neuroscience and affective computing are areas of research of high relevance to machine intelligence. They are at present minimally represented in the HBP, and could valuably complement the project.
Despite massive strides made over the past decades in medicine and science, understanding the workings of the human brain – the body’s most complex organ – remains one of the greatest challenges, as does finding solutions for brain disorders.
To meet these challenges, major neuroscience research initiatives at a cost of billions of dollars have been launched around the globe and researchers are adopting new digital technologies to better handle the massive amount of health data being generated today. Together, these efforts are already starting to bear fruit.

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