Lyreskog, D., Zohny, H., Savulescu, J. and Singh, I., (2023), 'Merging Minds: the conceptual and ethical impacts of technologies for collective minds', Neuroethics, Vol: 16(1): 12 [PMC10050050]
A growing number of technologies are currently being developed to improve and distribute thinking and decision-making. Rapid progress in brain-to-brain interfacing and swarming technologies promises to transform how we think about collective and collaborative cognitive tasks across domains, ranging from research to entertainment, and from therapeutics to military applications. As these tools continue to improve, we are prompted to monitor how they may affect our society on a broader level, but also how they may reshape our fundamental understanding of agency, responsibility, and other key concepts of our moral landscape. In this paper we take a closer look at this class of technologies - Technologies for Collective Minds - to see not only how their implementation may react with commonly held moral values, but also how they challenge our underlying concepts of what constitutes collective or individual agency. We argue that prominent contemporary frameworks for understanding collective agency and responsibility are insufficient in terms of accurately describing the relationships enabled by Technologies for Collective Minds, and that they therefore risk obstructing ethical analysis of the implementation of these technologies in society. We propose a more multidimensional approach to better understand this set of technologies, and to facilitate future research on the ethics of Technologies for Collective Minds.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Wellcome Trust (Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, grant WT203132).
Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities
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