Much of the technological advances in recent years allow us to foresee a near future marked by neurotechnology, with interconnections between devices and the nervous system of people to improve their mental abilities and even repair brain damage. Wonderful, as long as the need to strengthen neurosecurity to protect the information you keep in your mind is put on the table.
What is neurosecurity?
This is a field similar to cybersecurity, but focused on protecting the integrity and confidentiality of the information stored in the brain, in order to guarantee the mental privacy of the users of neural devices.
Importance of neurosecurity in this context of neurotechnological development
Neurotechnology refers to the discipline and field of research that encompasses the technologies developed to monitor and understand the brain, as well as to control some of its functions and even repair neuronal damage.
The first major advance in neurotechnology was the MRI scanner for brain imaging , but in recent years, thanks to the development of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies, it has advanced remarkably and could be the next great technological leap. of humanity.
According to Rafael Yuste, an international expert in neurotechnology, there will be “a new economic revolution of digital technology based on brain-computer interfaces.”
At the moment, devices have already been developed that allow direct interaction between the brain and a computer .
An example of this is the work of Neuralink, Elon Musk ‘s company specializing in brain-computer communication, which is projected to begin implanting the chip in people’s brains in mid-2023 to simultaneously record and stimulate neuronal activity . The goal is to give it medical applications such as the treatment of neurological disorders and severe spinal cord injuries .
According to the same researcher, the metaverse is the next step in that journey or technological revolution. In a short time, we will be connected in digital environments , and brain-computer interfaces will allow efficient interaction between the physical and virtual worlds using the mind.
This brain-technological device connection (including those that will be used to enter the metaverse and exploit the full potential of digital realities) involves managing a large volume of information stored in people’s minds (memories, habits, ideas, hobbies, etc.). , opinions, etc.). If the privacy of the same is not guaranteed, unscrupulous people could read it and use it improperly.
Mental privacy, a human rights issue
Large companies are already working on the development of techniques to enhance neurosecurity and deal with neurovulnerabilities. For example, Kristin Lauter, head of AI research for the West Coast of the US at Facebook, talks about cryptography as a solution and developing robust algorithms that cannot be broken; while Google proposes federated learning, a technique in which it would be impossible to extract information extracted by neural devices.
Although Yuste proposes to go a little further and raise neurosecurity as a human rights issue. He says that “we can’t let the tech companies have the solution for everything” .
Society should organize to create a new universal treaty for human rights to contemplate neurotechnology and information security of the mind . After all, since its inception, regulations have been shaped to respond effectively to the realities of each era.
In any case, these new technologies will have a reach far beyond that derived from entering the metaverse for entertainment purposes. In addition to helping to solve neurological diseases, they could have applications in non-clinical fields such as smart home, education, neuromarketing, military engineering, communication. The important thing, always, is to ensure the neurorights and privacy of minds.