Semaphore Colloquium Series: Ethics and Brainwave Technology

By Amy Ratelle on Nov 30th, 2013

Dirk Rodenburg, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Information (University of Toronto) is studying brainwaves. Recent technological breakthroughs have brought the previously-fantastical notion of telepathy or telekinesis closer to being a reality. While we are as yet unable to read each other's thoughts, we have come to a point where thought-controlled computing is real. In fact, it’s been four years since a number of thought-controlled toys have come on the market. In his talk, Rodenburg outlines his position on brainwave technologies, while briefly going over their history and development, and engages with current developments around this tech.

As thought-controlled computing is being developed, Rodenburg's goal is to examine at the ethics (or lack thereof) surrounding this development. Rodenburg is working closely with the Toronto-based International Centre for Brainwave Ethics (ICBE) Executive Director Dr. Ari Gross to develop industry standards and best practices. What happens when brainwave technology is mass-marketed? And how will the brainwave technology industry frame itself as this use of biometrics develops, and thought-based interfaces become more widespread? Above is a short clip of Rodenburg and Dr. Gross’s presentation. For the full video please click here.

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