Each day seemingly brings us new advances in healthcare that promise better and more targeted treatment for previously incurable diseases.
However, as these same technologies proliferate, so too do the ethical questions related to how this technology can be misused or exploited.
Health monitoring wearables are all around us, like watches and rings that can monitor our temperature, sleep patterns, and heart rate.
Some of these devices can track brainwave function and examine neurological functions in ways that previously required an MRI.
A company in Singapore is using AI to develop brain function maps which will essentially “read” people’s minds during an MRI scan.
“It can understand your brain activities just like ChatGPT understands the natural languages of humans. And then it will translate your brain activities into a language,” says PhD candidate Jiaxin Qing, who is helping lead the research.
The predictive modeling enabled by such wearable tech promises amazing breakthroughs in healthcare where wearable devices will be able to predict an epileptic seizure minutes or even hours before it occurs.
These same tools will be able to see anomalies in brain function that might be related to some types of brain cancer or the onset of dementia, leading to treatment at much earlier stages of the diseases.
However, the use, storage, and security of the information gathered by these tools concerns many.
Duke professor and author Nita Farahany has been an outspoken advocate for policies related to the ownership of our thoughts.
Her book The Battle For Your Brain delves into the pros and cons of the subject, which is moving much faster than legislators can keep up with.