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Make Data Work
September 11, 2018: Training & Tutorials
September 12–13, 2018: Keynotes & Sessions
New York, NY

Brain-based human-machine interfaces: New developments, legal and ethical issues, and potential uses

Amanda Pustilnik (University of Maryland School of Law | Center for Law, Brain & Behavior, Mass. General Hospital)
10:05am–10:20am Thursday, 09/13/2018
Location: 3E
Secondary topics:  Ethics and Privacy
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 12 ratings)

Have you ever dreamed you could read minds? Do telekinesis? Maybe fly a magic carpet by thought alone? Until now, these powers have existed only in the realm of imagination or, more recently, video, AR, and VR games. Now brain-based human-machine interfaces are beginning to offer these powers in near-commercially-viable forms. What will this mean for users, for companies that make these products, and for societies in which these products are used?

Focusing on various forms of data that new technologies can capture from brain-based processes, Amanda Pustilnik highlights several potential applications. These technologies represent points on the continuum from the amelioration of disability, recreational applications for consumers, and human enhancement to surveillance and intrusion. After first looking at certain data quality issues and limitations, Amanda explores the varying legal and ethical issues before speculating about the best use cases for developing future applications and where the balance might lie between consumer appeal, market and regulatory risk, and social responsibility.

Amanda Pustilnik

University of Maryland School of Law | Center for Law, Brain & Behavior, Mass. General Hospital

Amanda C. Pustilnik is a professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law and on the permanent faculty at the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her work focuses on the intersections of law, science, and culture, with a particular emphasis on neuroscience and neurotechnologies. In 2015, she served as Harvard Law School’s first senior fellow on law and applied neuroscience, where she focused on the neuroimaging of pain in itself and as a model for imaging subjective states relevant to law. Her collaborations with scientists on pain-related brain imaging and her expertise in criminal law led to her recent work on the opioid crisis on behalf of the Aspen Institute. She also writes and teaches in the areas of scientific and forensic evidence, on which she helps train federal and state judges. Prior to entering the academy, Amanda practiced litigation at Covington & Burling and at Sullivan & Cromwell, clerked on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School and completed a fellowship at the University of Cambridge, where she studied history and philosophy of science. Her work has been published in numerous law reviews and peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Nature.