Imagine a world where employers can see into their workers’ brains. Where your thoughts can be tracked through AI. And where you can peer into your own mind to cure addictions. All of this is possible today, thanks to the merging of Artificial Intelligence and neuroscience. In the brilliant new book The Battle For Your Brain, Nita Farahany offers us a much-needed map to navigate this fast-changing technological landscape. How do we avoid the dangers of lost privacy and rights while taking advantage of unprecedented opportunities? With the rapid advance of wearable neurotech and generative AI (think ChatGPT), we face important ethical questions about privacy, human rights, equity—and even what it means to be human. “We are at a pivotal moment in human history, in which control of our brains can be enhanced or lost,” Nita says. “We need to define contours of cognitive liberty now or risk being too late to do so.” But these technologies, Nita argues, are also an opportunity to transform how we learn, work, and live.
You’re driving home after a long day, desperate to stay awake. Suddenly, a mild zap from your headrest bolts you upright, alert. You’re safe—no caffeine is required. This kind of revolutionary device is already in action, and they’re only getting more sophisticated. Nita is at the forefront of the technology and ethics of wearable AI devices that use our biological and neurological data. These “mind-reading” neuroscience and AI technologies will revolutionize everything. The same zap that can save a drowsy driver can also be used in the workplace to increase safety measures or tell businesses whether their customers really love what they’re looking at.
Nita leads audiences on an optimistic, but cautionary, tour through the future of AI programs, like ChatGPT, and neurotechnology. She goes over the necessary regulations and shifts that needs to be implemented with this rapidly developing technology, including how employers must build employee trust when adopting new technologies in the workplace. If we want to make the most out of AI and neurotech, transparency is vital.
President Obama appointed Nita to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, where she served for seven years. She currently serves on the National Advisory Council for the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke, as an elected member of the American Law Institute and on the Global Future Council on Frontier Risks for the World Economic Forum, among others. Nita is a co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences and is on the Board of Advisors for Scientific American.
Nita is the Robinson O. Everett Distinguished Professor of Law & Philosophy and Founding Director of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society. She is a widely published scholar on the ethics of emerging technologies, including the book The Battle for Your Brain: Defending Your Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology.