brain

Digital twins & virtual brains: the importance of conceptual clarity and transparency

Researchers are trying to develop digital twins of the human brain by building so-called ‘virtual brains’. Trying to create virtual copies of such a complex organ, that we know increasingly yet still very little about is a great challenge. In a recent publication, Kathinka Evers and Arleen Salles explore philosophical and neuroethical challenges associated with…

Arleen Salles

The value of neuroethics and philosophical reflection in the Human Brain Project

The Human Brain Project is committed to implementing responsibility in research and innovation practices. But implementing responsibility means more than setting standards or enforcing compliance. It also means changing mindsets and promoting an ethical culture: A culture where scientific excellence also includes ethical excellence. In the Human Brain Project, we are integrating neuroethics and philosophy…

brain

Neuroimages, artificial intelligence & re-identification of research subjects

Taking images of the brain using magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI for short, also captures the face. For a long time, techniques that remove facial features from neuroimages have allowed for open sharing of anonymised neuroimages. But new developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning have made it possible to re-create the removed facial features…

Designing a responsible neuroscience research infrastructure

Over the past 8 years, the Human Brain Project (HBP) has tested the strengths and limitations of responsible research & innovation, also known as RRI. To mark the ten-year anniversary of RRI, a group of HBP researchers now share what can be learned from implementing this concept in a large multi-disciplinary research project. This includes…

child eye

Can you be cloned?

Why can we feel metaphysical nausea at the thought of cloned humans? I guess it has to do with how we, without giving ourselves sufficient time to reflect, are captivated by a simple image of individuality and cloning. The image then controls our thinking. We may imagine that cloning consists in multiplying our unique individuality in the…

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…

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…

The first international standard for responsible innovation in neurotechnology

How to ensure that societal benefits of neurotechnology are maximised and risks minimised? In December 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adopted the Recommendation on Responsible Innovation in Neurotechnology that provides some guidance in this respect. This is the first international standard in this domain and it aims to guide governments and…