Schneider, who is the director of the Center for the Future Mind at Florida Atlantic University believes Neuralink could sell your private thoughts to the highest bidder. “I am concerned about the widespread use that brain chips will have in the future.”
Last week, Elon Musk‘s neural implant company, Neuralink, posted a video of a primate whose technology had been implanted to play Pong with his mind.
The demonstration, while eye-catching, was somewhat disappointing – neuroscientists first developed and demonstrated mind-control technology in primates decades ago. However, it represented the growing prominence of Neuralink in the public sphere and raised important questions about privacy, data ownership, and biomedical ethics.
“While I am excited about the therapeutic applications of brain chips for those with movement and memory problems, I am concerned about the widespread use of brain chips in the future,” cognitive psychologist Susan Schneider told the Observer.
Schneider, who is the director of the Center for the Future Mind at Florida Atlantic University, has criticized Elon Musk’s ambitions for Neuralink for years. In 2019, she said that fusing the human mind with AI, as Musk said he wants the neural implant to do, would be akin to suicide.
“Without the proper regulations, your innermost thoughts and biometric data could be sold to the highest bidder,” Schneider added in her latest interview.
Neurological data collected as part of a medical experiment or treatment is protected by regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). But there are no legal barriers preventing a company like Neuralink from collecting and selling cognitive data through a consumer neural implant, as a more invasive version of how Facebook monetizes its data.
And while a neural implant capable of doing that is still several years in the future, the fact that the technology can surpass regulations intended to protect the public is alarming.