Principle Lead: Prof. Dr. Bert Heinrichs
Members: Clemens Uhing, MA
Neuro Ethics
© Hal Gatewood - Unsplash

Neuroethics, broadly conceived, is the branch of applied ethics that deals with scientific research and technological developments related to the human brain. This includes imaging techniques that provide insight into how the brain works which and are used for both scientific and medical purposes. It also includes (invasive and non-invasive) interventions to alter brain states. Topics of neuroethics currently under intense discussion are, for example, issues of neuroenhancement and brain-computer interfaces, but also, specific issues of informed consent, e.g. in Alzheimer’s research. Moreover, neuroethics is increasingly focusing on the use of AI. Of particular interest here are questions of human-machine interaction as well as the prediction of brain diseases and personality traits. IWE's work aims to better understand such philosophical and ethical issues and to develop approaches that enable responsible research and implementation.

Ongoing project in the field of neuroethics

  • RHUNE. Research Hub Neuroethics [more]
  • InVirtuo 4.0 [more]
  • FRAIM. Beyond Mere Performance: An Ethical Framework for the Use of AI in Neuromedicine [more]

Recent publications on neuroethics

  • Heinrichs, B., Karger, C., Heyl, K. et al. Künstliche Intelligenz in der Medizin. MedR 41, 259–264 (2023).

  • Rathkopf, Charles; Heinrichs, Jan-Hendrik; Heinrichs, Bert (2022): Can we read minds by imaging brains? In: Philosophical Psychology.
  • Heinrichs, Bert (2021): Advance research directives: avoiding double standards. In: BMC Med Ethics 22, 137.
  • Eickhoff, Simon B.; Heinrichs, Bert (2021): Der vorhersagbare Mensch: Zu Chancen und Risiken der KI-basierten Prädiktion von kognitiven Fähigkeiten, Persönlichkeitsmerkmalen und psychischen Erkrankungen. In: Der Nervenarzt 92, 1140–1148.

  • Heinrichs, Bert (2021): Is it possible to simulate “thought”? In: Benetka, Gerhard; Werbik, Hans (eds.): Discussing Cognitive Neuroscience. Psychology, Neurophysiology, and Philosophy on the Mind, Body and Brain. Cham: Springer, 153-163.

  • Heinrichs, Bert; Eickhoff, Simon B. (2020): Your Evidence? Machine Learning Algorithms for Medical Diagnosis and Prediction. In: Human Brain Mapping 41, 1435–1444.

Other activities in the field of neuroethics

  • In the WDR programme "Aktuelle Stunde" on 19 August 2023, Bert Heinrichs had a conversation with presenter Thomas Bug on the subject of "mind reading".
    Watch the video (German)

  • On Deutschlandfunk's "Lebenszeit" programme, Bert Heinrichs discussed the topic of "Artificial Intelligence in Everyday Life - Do You See More Opportunities or Risks?" together with science journalists Ranga Yogeshwar and Piotr Heller and presenter Daniela Wiesler.
    Listen to the audio (German)

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