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Embodiment and estrangement: Results from a first-in-human 'intelligent BCI' trial


Gilbert, F and Cook, M and O'Brien, T and Illes, J, Embodiment and estrangement: Results from a first-in-human 'intelligent BCI' trial, Science and Engineering Ethics, 25 pp. 83-96. ISSN 1353-3452 (2019) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The Author(s). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11948-017-0001-5


While new generations of implantable brain computer interface (BCI) devices are being developed, evidence in the literature about their impact on the patient experience is lagging. In this article, we address this knowledge gap by analysing data from the first-in-human clinical trial to study patients with implanted BCI advisory devices. We explored perceptions of self-change across six patients who volunteered to be implanted with artificially intelligent BCI devices. We used qualitative methodological tools grounded in phenomenology to conduct in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Results show that, on the one hand, BCIs can positively increase a sense of the self and control; on the other hand, they can induce radical distress, feelings of loss of control, and a rupture of patient identity. We conclude by offering suggestions for the proactive creation of preparedness protocols specific to intelligent—predictive and advisory—BCI technologies essential to prevent potential iatrogenic harms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:agency, artificial Intelligence, autonomy, brain computer interfaces, brain machine interfaces, brain implant, control, embodiment, estrangement, identity, predictive device, phenomenology, predictive brain devices, qualitative interviews, self
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Applied ethics
Research Field:Ethical use of new technology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Ethics
Objective Field:Bioethics
UTAS Author:Gilbert, F (Associate Professor Frederic Gilbert)
ID Code:122773
Year Published:2019 (online first 2017)
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE150101390)
Web of Science® Times Cited:34
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-11-28
Last Modified:2022-07-01
Downloads:64 View Download Statistics

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