BRAINCOM: Neural Prosthetics for speech
Five-year European Commission FETPROACT-2016
I am a Principle Investigator on the BrainCom project, which aims to help advance the basic understanding of speech networks in the cerebral cortex, and to develop rehabilitation solutions using innovative brain-computer interfaces.
I am leading the Work Package on ‘Ethics, Implants and Society’, which will cover a range of philosophical and ethical questions associated with the BrainCom research and the technology’s potential applications. We work with engineers, neuroscientists, clinicians, regulators and patients to examine a number of topics such as the degree of control and responsibility users will have over the externalisation of their thoughts and the relationship users have with their devices. We also examine the potential experience of the physical components as part of the body, issues relating to obtaining informed consent from patients who can only communicate via a neuroprosthesis, and the question of how data collected and stored on devices should be managed.
Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease
I am a research fellow and programme manager on the Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease. Bringing together zoology, history, philosophy, psychology and medicine, our four-year project addresses the central research question: What is the role of collective responsibility in the genesis of and appropriate response to the threat of infectious disease? Our principal aim is to generate disease-specific policy recommendations for collective action on influenza, malaria, antibiotic resistance and vaccine-preventable childhood infections.
Individual Responsibility and Healthcare
I am a research fellow on Julian Savulescu’s Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award: Responsibility and Healthcare.This project addresses questions such as: What is moral responsibility and does it matter in healthcare? Should treatment decisions and the allocation of resources take into account whether patients are responsible for their condition? Is it the physician’s role to encourage patients to take responsibility for their health? Does addiction undermine responsibility?
My previous project was the Oxford Martin Programme on Mind and Machine. This project brings together a collaboration of biologists, engineers and computer scientists to work on developing and applying technology that will allow the observation of and intervention in brain function. My role is to examine the ethical, legal and social implications of various brain intervention and interface technologies. Technologies covered include non-invasive brain stimulation, deep brain stimulation, optogenetics, brain-computer interfaces and virtual reality.
Our policy paper on cognitive enhancement devices can be found here: http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/briefings/Mind_Machines.pdf
With the University of Sheffield, I am co-investigatied the ethics of virtual reality and immersive technologies. The technologies we’re examining raise (amongst others) traditional philosophical questions about identity, authenticity and the value of different experiences, and new ethical questions about interacting with the world via a robot avatar.