The Chilean government is the first state to enshrine in its Constitution the protection of the brains of its citizens against technologies that would aim to “Increase, decrease or disrupt” their mental integrity. Chain Al-Jazeera English devotes a report to this law of a new kind.
“Manipulating your brain to modify your reality, with or without your consent, is a subject worthy of science fiction films”, primer Al-Jazeera English, which broadcasts as an illustration an excerpt from the now cult Matrix. In this feature film released in 1999, the first part of a saga in four episodes, the world perceived by humans is a virtual reality created by machines. More than two decades later, science has partly caught up with fiction, as there are headsets that allow you to immerse yourself in virtual worlds – of your own free will. Thanks to this type of device, “Neurotechnology is making extraordinary progress in helping people who cannot speak or walk. People with Alzheimer’s may soon be able to regain their memory ”, underlines the chain. “But, like a nuclear weapon, [ces technologies] can be misused. ”
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The idea that neurotechnology could change the way our brains work is no longer as far-fetched as one might think. Neuralink, a start-up co-founded by Elon Musk, is working on brain implants. In April, she unveiled a video in which a monkey by the name of Pager plays the game of Pong without controllers, controlling the movement of the racket only by his thoughts, all thanks to the device implanted in his brain by the firm. This implant retransmits neurological signals sent by the animal’s brain, which therefore does not need to move its hands to play.
But what if this type of technology was used on humans against their will? It is against such a scenario that Chile tries to protect its citizens, by integrating in its Constitution the guarantee of “Neuro-rights”.
A risk in five or ten years
For Chilean Senator Guido Girardi, who is one of the authors of this text voted on April 22, “Neurotechnologies are the new frontier: they can read what is going on in your brain and what you are thinking, even in your subconscious”.
This means that our free will is in danger. You are your mind. If someone can manipulate or control your mind, or introduce ideas that are not your own, you lose your freedom to be human. ”
Neurotechnologies would only be “One or two years of decoding our thoughts and probably five or ten years of being able to modify our thoughts and our behavior”, according to Rafael Yuste, thinking head of the Brain Project in Chile. Faced with these rapid developments, some argue for “neuro-rights” to be considered as fundamental human rights for all at the global level. This is the case of Rosario Ramos, a lawyer specializing in bioethics, who believes that “Chile led the way, but [qu’]it is a universal duty. ” According to her, these rights should be included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 2006, Al-Jazeera English, an English version of the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera channel, was launched. It is intended for a non-Arabic speaking audience, in particular viewers from North America. Its site publishes information and programs