Activities of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies
The Center actively shepherds research and public debate on neurotechnology, and advises public and private sectors working to study and develop neuroscience and technology. These objectives are achieved through:
Research: CNS is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the foci, use, and impact(s) of neurotechnology, particularly as relates to legal and social issues arising in and from this field.
Workshops/Seminars: CNS hosts lectures, seminars, and other activities to address development and issues of neurotechnology.
Briefings: The Center informs policy-makers and agency personnel on emerging scientific, legal, and social issues related to the development and implementation of neurotechnologies.
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies’ Center for Neurotechnology Studies held a symposium to discuss the biggest mystery to mankind, the mind, through the convergence of neuroscience, biologics, nanotechnology, and the digital revolution. The digital, biologics, and nanotechnology disciplines have all provided their own technological leaps for society, from machine intelligence to nano-scale smart devices. Neuroscience is on the cusp of its own leap forward: it is has great potential to restore and augment human, cognitive, and physical abilities. Enhancing human intelligence through technology will revolutionize business, education, communication, and the way in which society functions. As part of the 2014 Neuroscience Policy Symposia Series, the symposium continued to elaborate on the need for the expansion of the BRAIN Initiative into a National Neurotechnology Initiative. The distinguished individuals at this symposium will draw from their experience in industry, government, and academia to discuss important topics in neuroscience and the future of intelligence. Technology that enhances intelligence and humans will be invaluable to society.
On July 23rd, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosted Seeing Ins't Always Believing: The Realities of Imaging Technology and Neuroscience. This seminar addressed the various ways in which neuroimaging technology has advanced, and how these new developments can be used to achieve the goals of the BRAIN Initiative. The President’s Initiative has spearheaded an effort to map and understand the human brain, and novel neuroimaging technologies need to be developed in order to accomplish this goal. Neuroimaging encompasses the set of techniques that researchers use to create a structural and/or functional map of the nervous system.
Speakers included Dr. Marvin Chun (Yale University), Dr. Paul Vaska (Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University), and Dr. Jennifer Buss (Center of Neurotechnology Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.)
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' Center for Neurotechnology Studies was proud to co-sponsor the third Neuroscience: Ethics, Legal and Social Issues (NELSI-3) Conference, held on February 25, 2011 at George Mason University. The topic of the program was Ethical Issues in the Use of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology in National Defense. Prof. James Giordano, PhD, Vice President for Academic Programs at the Potomac Institute and Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies, chaired the conference.
Please click below to watch a video of the conference in its entirety, or scroll down to see a list of timeline indicators for individual presentations. Please visit www.nelsi-3.com for full details on the conference.
1) Introduction by Prof. James Giordano, PhD: 00:11
2) Welcome by Prof. James Olds, PhD: 03:56
3) Opening Plenary: Towards the Neuro-Future: Challenges and Opportunities by James Canton, PhD: 17:24
4) Can (and Should?) We Regulate Neurosecurity? Lessons from the History of Science, the Military and Regulation by Prof. James Tabery, PhD: 56:38
5) Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense by Prof. Jonathan Moreno, PhD: 93:28
6) Hazards of Translation and Transformation: A Critique of Neuroscience in National Security from Science Studies, Ethics and Human Rights by Prof. Jonathan Marks, MA, BCL (Oxon): 130:05
7) Neuroethics and National Security: The Promise and Peril of Neuroscience Technology, with a Hopeful Coda by LtCol William Casebeer, USAF, PhD: 158:39
8) The Human Dimension and US National Security: Our Current Challenge, But Greatest Opportunity by Chris Forsythe, PhD: 205:35
9) The Neuroethical Classification of Modifications to Body and Self by Prof. John Shook, PhD: 240:10
10) Neuroscience and Technology in National Security: Toward a Stance of Preparedness and Neuroethics of Prudent Action by Prof. James Giordano, PhD: 268:50
11) Panel Discussion: 304:40
A Collaboration Between the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and SharpBrains
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science held a symposium on the topic of education neuroscience on May 14, 2014. This symposium tackled the issues of how to apply neuroscience research to the classroom and how to reshape the future of education through neuroscience. Incorporating neuroscience and neurotechnology into our education system has the potential to revolutionize the way every student learns as an individual – a unique and personalized education, tailored to their interests and highly interactive, allowing each student to excel in their own capacity. Education of our children is our future. We do not have to accept education as a static, unchanging field. We should expect a constant improvement in our education system and now, neuroscience provides us with the best tool to effect such changes.
On Friday, March 21, members of the science and policy communities met to discuss the current challenges and opportunities in neuroscience data sharing as well as possible ways to advance data sharing going forward. Panelists included representatives from the neuroscience, industry, statistics, database, funding, and scientific journal communities. The biggest obstacle facing neuroscience data sharing appears to be the need for cultural change (i.e. creating an environment in which data sharing is part of the work flow for scientists instead of an afterthought and a burden). One solution that was discussed is the inclusion of data sharing practices in the evaluation of promotion and tenure decisions. Another is the development and widespread use of technologies that make data sharing an easy part of the scientific process. A second obstacle is the high cost for not only sharing data, but also maintaining and curating that data. It is currently unclear whose responsibility this should be. Before sharing can become widespread, the community must determine exactly what data should be shared. There are differing opinions on this; should investigators share all raw data, only processed data, or only data pertaining to the experimental questions of the study? Improvements in hard drives continually make it easier to store and share large quantities of data, but as more and more data is collected with new tools and techniques, this will become a bigger issue and one that must be addressed.
Neurotechnology, like many developing sciences, is a multi-disciplinary field that has the potential to revolutionize medicine, law, warfare, and education.
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and The American Association for the Advancement of Science will be hosting a series of symposia intended to provide a forum for the public and policymakers focused on the societal impacts of neuroscience and technology. One of the goals of the series is to develop future U.S. policy recommendations.
Neuroscience and technology will affect our society in more ways that we currently imagine. The speed of technology development significantly outpaces that of policy development.
On September 11, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' Center for Neurotechnology Studies was a co-supporter, along with the Nour Foundation, of a conference at the United Nations entitled "Toward a Common Morality." The Center's Director, James Giordano, PhD, was among the featured speakers.
Participants discussed the phenomenological and spiritual characteristics of human subjective experience, the neurophysiological and psychological foundations of these domains, and their role in practical reasoning and moral decision making. Emphasis was on elucidating how and why an understanding of the integrative neuroscience of the brain-mind both compels and sustains an appreciation for reverence and virtue, and provides a natural foundation for the emergence of a system of common morality.