Are wearables and health sensors good or bad? Like with any technology, it is only as good or bad as the humans using it.
Neurotechnology’s influence on human existence may have both positive and negative effects. Sensors could revolutionize health care by enabling early identification of presymptomatic cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia, and supporting clinical therapies.
On the flip side, corporations and governments are already hacking into people’s brains. Imagine going to work and having your employer monitor your brainwaves to see whether you’re mentally tired or fully engaged in filling out that spreadsheet on this month’s sales!
Researchers are saying that this is not far-fetched as Sensors capable of detecting and decoding brain activity already have been embedded into everyday devices such as earbuds, headphones, watches, and wearable tattoos.
“Cognitive liberty is the right to self-determination over our brains and mental experiences, as a right to both access and use technologies, but also a right to be free from interference with our mental privacy and freedom of thought,” says Nita Farahany, the author of “The Battle for Your Brain: Defending the Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology”.
Cognitive liberty should be recognized as both a legal and a societal norm and should be reflected in international human rights law, Farahany says, adding that the mechanism to do it is by updating the definition of privacy to include mental privacy, and updating freedom of thought to include freedom from interception, manipulation, and punishment of our thoughts, as well as self-determination.
Will our governments act on time or will it need a social uproar before the ruling powers even consider regulating such technologies?