child eye

We shape the societies that shape us: our responsibility for human nature

Visionary academic texts are rare – texts that shed light on how research can contribute to the perennial human issues. In an article in the philosophical journal Theoria, however, Kathinka Evers opens up a novel visionary perspective on neuroscience and tragic aspects of the human condition. For millennia, sensitive thinkers have been concerned about human nature. Undoubtedly,…

neurons

Culturally shaping developing minds

Are we socially steering evolution by influencing the cultural imprints to be stored in our brains? Recent neuroscientific findings would say so. In a recent paper, Kathinka Evers discusses the potential of being ‘epigenetically proactive’ and adapting our social structures to benefit brain development. Our nervous systems develop in continuous interaction with their immediate physical…

brain

Space, time: bridging the epistemic gap of brain & mind

How do we become ourselves? How does neuronal activity turn into consciousness and the self? One of nature’s great scientific mysteries is the ‘common currency’ of brain and mind. Georg Northoff, Soren Wainio-Theberge and Kathinka Evers suggest looking for a ‘Spatiotemporal Neuroscience’ to dissolve the brain-mind puzzle. Until now, researchers investigating how neural activity turns…

robot

What is required of an ethics of artificial intelligence?

I recently highlighted criticism of the ethics that often figures in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). An ethics that can handle the challenges that AI presents us with requires more than just beautifully formulated ethical principles, values ​​and guidelines. What exactly is required of an ethics of artificial intelligence? Michele Farisco, Kathinka Evers and Arleen Salles address the issue…

fenced off gardens

Ethical frameworks for research

The word ethical framework evokes the idea of ​​something rigid and separating, like the fence around the garden. The research that emerges within the framework is dynamic and constantly new. However, to ensure safety, it is placed in an ethical framework that sets clear boundaries for what researchers are allowed to do in their work. That this…

Decorative image of neurons

Paper roundup – Neuroethics, AI ethics, dual-use, responsible neurorobotics & how to carry on during the Covid-19 crisis

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…

Diversity in research: why do we need it?

Scientific discovery is based on the novelty of the questions you ask. This means that if you want to discover something new, you probably have to ask a different question. And since different people have different preconceptions and experiences than you, they are likely to formulate their questions differently. This makes a case for diversity…

Dual-use in neuroscience: Beyond the civil-military dichotomy

Neuroscience is one of the most promising technologies of this century, with potential for great benefits in health, technology and economy. How can we promote the benefits and minimise the harms of this powerful technology? Inga Ulnicane makes the case for involving scientists and engineers in the process of identifying the dual uses of their…

HBP Education workshops

Who needs a Mentor? The High Potential Mentoring Programme of the HBP

The HBP implemented a “High-Potential Mentoring Programme” to provide cross-organisational, virtual mentoring, with a focus on improving or defining career opportunities for scientists and managers of science.

Q&A with Ethics Rapporteurs: Neurorobotics

What ethical and societal questions scientists, engineers and developers in the Human Brain Project (HBP) encounter in their work? How do they deal with them? To shed some light on these questions we have a Q&A series with Ethics Rapporteurs. The second rapporteur in the series to answer our questions is Dr. Francesca Irene Cavallaro…