Building an EBRAINS community in Africa

Why is EBRAINS engaging in community building activities? EBRAINS has made a commitment to build a scientific research infrastructure that empowers empirical and theoretical neuroscience that is of relevance to a highly diverse and collaborative neuroscience community. We understand that ‘the success of the EBRAINS research infrastructure will depend on its ability to mobilise the…

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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…

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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…

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Can AI be conscious? Let us think about the question

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has achieved remarkable results in recent decades, especially thanks to the refinement of an old and for a long time neglected technology called Deep Learning (DL), a class of machine learning algorithms. Some achievements of DL had a significant impact on public opinion thanks to important media coverage, like the cases of the…

Beyond ‘good old CERN’: data and digital research infrastructures

In the popular imaginaries of Research Infrastructures, the ‘good old CERN’ is often seen as the prime example of European Research Infrastructures. Created in the post-World War II and emerging Cold War context of the 1950s, the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN) has developed in a highly-regarded success story of international cooperation, scientific discoveries…

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Neuroethics in big brain initiatives

Many ethical and social issues are raised by neuroscientific findings, but neuroscience can also help answer fundamental questions. From the nature of consciousness and morality to the existence of a free will, to name a few. To identify and manage issues raised by brain research, anticipation, reflection, and cross-disciplinary dialogue are key. In a recent…

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How can we ensure responsible neurorobotics?

Neurorobotics exists at the intersection of neuroscience and robotics. Some of the ethical concerns raised by the technology are inherited by its parent(s). Worker safety, systems reliability, and unconscious biases, to name a few. But with new technology comes new ethical and social challenges. A recent publication offers an important first step towards responsible neurorobotics.…

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…