About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
Follow me on Twitter at @neurorev
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April 20, 2009

The New Yorker Meets The Neuro Revolution in Brain Gain

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Posted by Zack Lynch

TNY.pngThe New Yorker just published Brain Gain written by Margaret Talbot, in which Casey and I are interviewed. The interview was over 8 months ago. Amazing time line for these articles sometimes...

Zack and Casey Lynch are a young couple who, in 2005, launched NeuroInsights, a company that advises investors on developments in brain-science technology. (Since then, they’ve also founded a lobbying group, the Neurotechnology Industry Organization.) Casey and Zack met as undergraduates at U.C.L.A.; she went on to get a master’s degree in neuroscience at U.C.S.F., and he became an executive at a software company. Last summer, I had coffee with them in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, and they both spoke with casual certainty about the coming market for neuroenhancers. Zack, who has a book being published this summer, called “The Neuro Revolution,” said, “We live in an information society. What’s the next form of human society? The neuro-society.” In coming years, he said, scientists will understand the brain better, and we’ll have improved neuroenhancers that some people will use therapeutically, others because they are “on the borderline of needing them therapeutically,” and others purely “for competitive advantage.” 7...

And yet when enthusiasts share their vision of our neuroenhanced future it can sound dystopian. Zack Lynch, of NeuroInsights, gave me a rationale for smart pills that I found particularly grim. “If you’re a fifty-five-year-old in Boston, you have to compete with a twenty-six-year-old from Mumbai now, and those kinds of pressures are only going to grow,” he began. Countries other than the U.S. might tend to be a little looser with their regulations, and offer approval of new cognitive enhancers first. “And if you’re a company that’s got forty-seven offices worldwide, and all of a sudden your Singapore office is using cognitive enablers, and you’re saying to Congress, ‘I’m moving all my financial operations to Singapore and Taiwan, because it’s legal to use those there,’ you bet that Congress is going to say, ‘Well, O.K.’ It will be a moot question then. It would be like saying, ‘No, you can’t use a cell phone. It might increase productivity!’ ”

Grim, eh?

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April 13, 2009

Hank Greely Talks to the Farm about Enhancement

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Hank.pngNeuroethicist Hank Greely was interviewed recently by the Farm, Stanford's magazine, about why the Nature article on neurocognitive enhancement was a good idea.

Some good snippets: (1) "Part of me thinks that any attention is good attention, because we think this is a really important issue." (2) "Our regulatory system isn’t set up to look at or think about the enhancement uses of drugs that are approved for medical conditions." (3) "Right now, to the extent the public has thought about this issue at all, it’s kind of the knee-jerk “drugs are bad, enhancement is bad, let’s ignore it.” Not a good solution." (4)"I think it (neuroethics) is really fascinating, really hard, not going to be figured out in my lifetime and more important than genetics." (5) "For me personally it’s the sense of inevitability. We’re going to have to confront this issue, and we haven’t even begun to think about it. (6) So, if given free rein, I would rewrite the regulatory regime in a way to make the regulation of these kinds of drugs, when used for enhancing purposes, more rational. (7) But I do think that some changes will be needed. I’m ultimately not pessimistic about whether we’ll get those changes.

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April 3, 2009

Follow Me on Twitter with @NeuroRev

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Posted by Zack Lynch

In anticipation of the publication of my book launch in July, I'm stepping up my neurogame and have started to twitter about current and futuristic topics of interest around The Neuro Revolution. You can follow me @neurorev. Enjoy!

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