Think about discrimination in new neurotechnologies

08/06/2023 | ICO

In a blog article, Stephen Almond, Executive Director of Regulatory Risk at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), warns that emerging neurotechnologies may discriminate against certain groups if their development doesn't prioritise inclusivity. Neurodata monitoring technology is predicted to become increasingly widespread over the next decade and is already used in healthcare to predict, diagnose, and treat illnesses. However, the rapid development of neurotech for personal wellbeing, sports, marketing, and workplace monitoring poses a risk of inherent bias and inaccurate data if not tested on a diverse range of people. This could have negative consequences for communities in the UK.

In a Twitter post, Stephen Almond recorded a short video explaining, "To many, the idea of neurotechnology conjures up images of science fiction films, but this technology is real and it is developing rapidly.” He went on to warn about the consequences if this technology is "deployed inappropriately" and that the ICO wants to see the whole of society benefit. 

An article in The Guardian provides further background on the example cited in the ICO's blog about Gert-Jan Oskam, the 40-year-old paralysed man who can walk again thanks to brain implants. This follows a related story last month about new non-invasive AI technology that turns thoughts into text.

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