Brain-Computer Interfaces, also known as Human-Machine Interfaces, are devices that allow humans to control various computer systems using brainwaves. These systems are being developed for medical, military, and even entertainment purposes, and could become commonplace the near future. BCI devices can potentially be used to control anything from a fully bionic limb, to a guided missile, and the range of possibilities does not stop there.
Some of these BCI systems must be implanted in the user’s brain in order to create a solid interface, but others are as simple as a headset that can read neural pulses through the skull. This allows for technologies ranging from nerve bipasses that correct paralysis, to interfaces that control robotic prosthesis, to video game controllers that read your neural pulses to control a character. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
With all of the recent breakthroughs in Brain-Computer Interface technology, which uses of this new field draw ethical questions? Furthermore, should these uses therefore be outlawed, or does it impugn on basic human rights to deny people a potentially beneficial technology to all of mankind? Although its uses can be revolutionary to many fields, questions arise. Who will be able to access it? Should we be interfacing with machines at all? Are medical definitions of illness or disability the same as the societal definitions? Where do we, as humans, draw the line of what needs to be “fixed” and what is just natural part of life that people are born with? How will these technologies effect war, for the countries that could employ them, but also for the countries they could be used against? What will be the affect on society as these technologies trickle down to the public domain?
With this website, we are presenting an unbiased, broad picture of what Brain-Computer Interfaces are and could become. Our goal is to encourage the users of this site to explore the possibilities of this technology and draw their own conclusions regarding the questions above. This website lists just a few examples of how BCI might be implemented, but intends to spark interest in a topic that we believe will be of great importance in the near future.