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.
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September 24, 2009

Half the Sky - The Greatest Moral Issue of Our Time

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Screen%20shot%202009-09-24%20at%202.38.57%20PM.pngNicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have joined forces to publish "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women" which was released earlier this month. I just ordered my copy. Here is their reasoning why.

IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.

Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution."

I couldn't agree more.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurosociety

September 21, 2009

2019 - President Signs NINA (Neuro Information Nondiscrimination Act)

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Posted by Zack Lynch

NINA.pngA few weeks ago I participated in a day long discussion at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto around the topic of When Everything is Programmable. Lots of very interesting scenarios and viewpoints were shared. For my part, I stuck to the theme of our emerging neurosociety. Towards the end of the day each of us were asked to write up a 10 year scenario focused on our area of expertise. Jake Dunagan, IFTF's Director of Technology Horizons Program and fellow neurofuturist joined me in sketching out this scenario which touches on a whole set of emerging issues. This is not meant to be comprehensive, more so a quick sketch we put together in 45 minutes.

September 13, 2019 President Signs NINA (Neuro Information Nondiscrimination Act)

Inspired by the GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) legislation passed in 2008, NINA might include areas such as:

-Explicit right to cognitive liberty, brain privacy
-Bans discrimination in hiring based on neuroimaging profile
-Bans all local, state 'drug vaccine' programs
-Bans 'neuroprofiling' for travel and attendance at public events
-Subsidizes accelerated learning with neuroenablement technologies
-Legalizes use of neuroenablers
-Bans denial of health coverage based on neuroprofile
-Bans cosmetic memory erasure

The scenario is being accelerated by the development of more sophisticated imaging technologies, neuroinformatic analysis algorithms, neurofeedback technologies, research into neuroplasticity, drug vaccine, neuropharma and neurodevice R&D.

The reason this scenario was seen as important to sketch out was that right now we have a whole host of technologies that are emerging without an effective policy infrastructure. There will be severe unintended consequences as technologies accelerate across a wide variety of enabling disciplines and national governments may eventually need to step in to protect their populations and their basic human rights.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: NeuroWave 2050

September 10, 2009

Decade of Mind V Takes the Message to Berlin

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Posted by Zack Lynch

handbrain.pngBig brain thinkers are aggregating in Berlin over next few days for the Decade of the Mind V Conference. The three themes are Education (how neuroscience can aid educational research and policy); Social Policy (how neuroeconomics can inform public policy); and Health (neurotech developments for brain related illness).

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: NeuroWave 2050

September 4, 2009

Perception Shifting Leads to Dizzy Future

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Energy-.jpgIn Chapter Nine, Perception Shift, we explore the societal implications of a time when people across all walks of life intentionally choose to use neurotechnologies to influence their mood, senses and memories. By subtly influencing one's mental self - improving cognitive clarity, extending physical sensations, expanding emotional well being - we will ultimately begin to change how we perceive daily events. In short, society will experience a perception shift. There are profound ethical, legal and societal issues with moving down this pathway, but it does indeed seem like this is a likely path that many may take as we travel deeper into the emerging neurosociety.

A recent article in the Prospect written by David Edmonds, The Age of Enhancement, highlights the complexities that arise when considering the societal impact of conscious mental enhancement, "At the heart of the debate there remains unease about tampering with the very things that make humans human. And while we are becoming accustomed to some varieties of enhancement, our capacity to manipulate not just our bodies and our cognitive faculties, but potentially also our core emotions, is taking us into a world of dizzyingly new options."

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuro Revolution