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Article: A practical approach to the ethical use of memory modulating technologies

TitleA practical approach to the ethical use of memory modulating technologies
Authors
KeywordsMemory
Memory
Technology
Golden mean
Authenticity
Issue Date2020
PublisherBioMed Central Ltd. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmedethics/
Citation
BMC Medical Ethics, 2020, v. 21, article no. 89 How to Cite?
AbstractBackground: Recent advancements in neuroscientific techniques have allowed us to make huge progress in our understanding of memories, and in turn has paved the way for new memory modification technologies (MMTs) that can modulate memories with a degree of precision, which was not previously possible. With advancements in such techniques, new and critical ethical questions have emerged. Understanding and framing these ethical questions within the current philosophical theories is crucial in order to systematically examine them as we translate these techniques to the clinic. Main body: In this paper, we discuss the ethical implications of modern neuroscience techniques that aim to disrupt or enhance memories. We attempt to frame the MMTs in the context of existing ethical philosophical theories to provide a cohesive analysis of the myriad of ethical quagmires that might emerge from such technologies. We argue the application of Aristotle’s Golden Mean and multiple accounts of authenticity are useful in approaching the ethical questions surrounding MMTs. We then propose a framework in which ethical considerations can be systematically examined. Lastly, we provide caveats and considerations for the use of this framework. Overall, we provide a practical approach for the ethical use of MMTs depending on the situation. Conclusion: While at face value, our model appears to put severe limitations on the application of MMTs, we are not completely opposed to their use, but rather our framework guides the agent to consider the implications before making any decisions. Most importantly, we argue that the use of MMTs does not reduce the responsibility of the initial decision, and the agent must accept the post-MMT self as the new “true self” regardless of the outcome. As the developmental trajectory of MMTs suggests we are getting closer to practical clinical applications, ethical concerns across a wide range of disciplines need to be addressed to develop best strategies and policies when dealing with MMTs. If this can be achieved, we believe the ethical use of MMTs is not only possible but would also be of tremendous benefit to many people suffering from memory-related mental disorders.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/286101
ISSN
2020 Impact Factor: 2.652
2020 SCImago Journal Rankings: 1.075
PubMed Central ID
ISI Accession Number ID

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorTan, SZK-
dc.contributor.authorLim, LW-
dc.date.accessioned2020-08-31T06:59:08Z-
dc.date.available2020-08-31T06:59:08Z-
dc.date.issued2020-
dc.identifier.citationBMC Medical Ethics, 2020, v. 21, article no. 89-
dc.identifier.issn1472-6939-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/286101-
dc.description.abstractBackground: Recent advancements in neuroscientific techniques have allowed us to make huge progress in our understanding of memories, and in turn has paved the way for new memory modification technologies (MMTs) that can modulate memories with a degree of precision, which was not previously possible. With advancements in such techniques, new and critical ethical questions have emerged. Understanding and framing these ethical questions within the current philosophical theories is crucial in order to systematically examine them as we translate these techniques to the clinic. Main body: In this paper, we discuss the ethical implications of modern neuroscience techniques that aim to disrupt or enhance memories. We attempt to frame the MMTs in the context of existing ethical philosophical theories to provide a cohesive analysis of the myriad of ethical quagmires that might emerge from such technologies. We argue the application of Aristotle’s Golden Mean and multiple accounts of authenticity are useful in approaching the ethical questions surrounding MMTs. We then propose a framework in which ethical considerations can be systematically examined. Lastly, we provide caveats and considerations for the use of this framework. Overall, we provide a practical approach for the ethical use of MMTs depending on the situation. Conclusion: While at face value, our model appears to put severe limitations on the application of MMTs, we are not completely opposed to their use, but rather our framework guides the agent to consider the implications before making any decisions. Most importantly, we argue that the use of MMTs does not reduce the responsibility of the initial decision, and the agent must accept the post-MMT self as the new “true self” regardless of the outcome. As the developmental trajectory of MMTs suggests we are getting closer to practical clinical applications, ethical concerns across a wide range of disciplines need to be addressed to develop best strategies and policies when dealing with MMTs. If this can be achieved, we believe the ethical use of MMTs is not only possible but would also be of tremendous benefit to many people suffering from memory-related mental disorders.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherBioMed Central Ltd. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmedethics/-
dc.relation.ispartofBMC Medical Ethics-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subjectMemory-
dc.subjectMemory-
dc.subjectTechnology-
dc.subjectGolden mean-
dc.subjectAuthenticity-
dc.titleA practical approach to the ethical use of memory modulating technologies-
dc.typeArticle-
dc.identifier.emailLim, LW: limlw@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityLim, LW=rp02088-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.1186/s12910-020-00532-z-
dc.identifier.pmid32948166-
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC7501599-
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-85091265323-
dc.identifier.hkuros313492-
dc.identifier.volume21-
dc.identifier.spagearticle no. 89-
dc.identifier.epagearticle no. 89-
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000573579000001-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdom-
dc.identifier.issnl1472-6939-

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