I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Dr. Allan McCay on the Futurati Podcast. He's a legal scholar and philosopher who focuses on questions at the interface of emerging neurotechnologies and the law, such as how privacy works when it's possible to decode mental images and mental speech from brain readings. 

It was a great conversation, one covering issues that are becoming more timely by the day. 

Major topics included:

  • He brought up free will early on, so we spent some time kicking around different definitions of free will and how they interact with legal questions on culpability. 
  • How should we define and think about neurotech, i.e. how is a brain-to-brain interface different from just being really good at verbal communication?
  • Certain important legal concepts make a strong distinction between mental and physical acts, i.e. between thinking about robbing a person and actually doing it. But as more of the world is mediated by neural interfaces, this distinction will require further clarification. 
  • We'll need to carefully distinguish between using neurotechnologies to help a person control their impulses and using them to effectively neuter people such that they're not even capable of becoming incensed over the gravest outrages. What sort of legal frameworks would help in this?

I hope you like the episode, and if you do, consider sharing it around to help us grow!

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