Large-scale international collaborative brain research exists in a societal context. The Human Brain Project is committed to responsible research and innovation. This summer, HPB researchers have published a number of papers on different ethical and societal impacts of neuroscientific advances.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s professional and personal lives, we have shared experiences from the HBP in recommendations on living and working remotely. We have published a theoretical contribution to AI ethics, asking what we mean by intelligence in relation to AI. We have made an effort to move the discussion on dual-use n neuroscience discussion beyond the civil-military dichotomy by making the case for involving scientists and engineers in the process of identifying any dual-use potential.

Another paper discusses how to ensure responsible neurorobotics beyond worker safety, systems reliability and unconscious bias. We have also published a reaction to the BRAIN 2.0 Neuroethics Report, supporting the call for more culturally sensitive research and opening up science to society: Providing a stepping stone not only for more effective collaboration, but also a global and ethically sustainable neuroscience. The Ethics Blog published a text on gender and diversity based on Karin Grasenick’s presentation “Of mice, men and machines” at FENS 2020, discussing the need for diversity in research, because scientific discovery is based on the novelty of the questions you ask, and a diverse team of researchers are likely to ask different questions.  

For more highlights, we suggest you read about these papers on the Human Brain Project’s Ethics Dialogues blog:, or go straight to the source!

The Ethics Blog
Diversity in research: why do we need it? Published online 12 August.
Karin Grasenick & Julia Trattnig

AJOB Neuroscience
Of Ethical Frameworks and Neuroethics in Big Neuroscience Projects: A View from the HBP. Published online 27 July. 
Arleen Salles & Michele Farisco
Read about it on Ethics Dialogues: Neuroethics in big brain initiatives

Science and Engineering Ethics
Ethical and Social Aspects of Neurorobotics. Published online 22 July.
Christine Aicardi, Simisola Akintoye, B. Tyr Fothergill, Manuel Guerrero, Gudrun Klinker, William Knight, Lars Klüver, Yannick Morel, Fabrice O. Morin, Bernd Carsten Stahl & Inga Ulnicane
Read about it on Ethics Dialogues: How can we ensure responsible neurorobotics?

Emerging security technologies and EU governance: Actors, practices and processes (forthcoming book)
The governance of dual-use research in the EU
Inga Ulnicane
Read about it on Ethics Dialogues: Dual-use in neuroscience: Beyond the civil-military dichotomy

Science and Engineering Ethics
Towards Establishing Criteria for the Ethical Analysis of Artificial Intelligence. Published online 7 July.
Michele Farisco, Kathinka Evers & Arleen Salles
Read about it on Ethics Dialogues: What is intelligence? Theoretical contributions to AI ethics from the Human Brain Project

Journal of Responsible Technology
Responsible Research and Innovation & Digital Inclusiveness during Covid-19 Crisis in the Human Brain Project (HBP). Published online 23 June
Karin Grasenick & Manuel Guerrero
Read about it on Ethics Dialogues: Working and living during the Covid-19 crisis: recommendations from the Human Brain Project

By Josepine Fernow

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