‘Unless they do not build cyborgs’ Ethics missing the point of cyborg constitution in neuroscientific trials? @ 5th Health, Culture and the Human Body Conference (Istanbul)

I’ll be presenting: “‘Unless they do not build cyborgs’ Ethics missing the point of cyborg constitution in neuroscientific trials?” at the Health, Culture and the Human Body. Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Genetics and Human Enhancement (4.-6. October 2018, Istanbul, Turkey).
You can find the program flyer here: HCHB flyer.

 

Abstract:
‘Unless they do not build cyborgs’ Ethics missing the point of cyborg constitution in neuroscientific trials? (Melike Şahinol, Orient-Institut Istanbul)

Neuroethics discussed several ethical implications for Neuroscience and Neurotechnology, also for Brain Computer/Machine Interfaces (BCI/BMI), as their usage in the medical field raise philosophical and ethical questions. These questions focus on neuroscientific trials or treatment that may concern ethical concepts like informed consent, free will, autonomy, patient rights, privacy and mind-reading (Clausen, 2010; Clausen & Levy, 2014; Müller, Clausen, & Maio, 2009). Broadly discussed is the anthropological figure of the cyborg (Haraway, 1991), linked to futuristic visions of human enhancement, transhumanism, etc. (Chatterjee & Farah, 2012; Downey & Dumit, 1997; Heikkila, 2015; Illes & Sahakian, 2011; Müller, 2010; Pickering, 1995; Schmitz, 2010). These neuroethical studies have often in common, that ethical arguments are less based on ethnographical fieldwork, looking at distributed interactions of human and machine, even at the practices of Neuroscientists in trials with BCI. So, what would it mean for Neuroethics, if the usage of BMI marks the constitution of an acting cyborg?

© EEG equipment, 2010, Şahinol

© EEG equipment, 2010, Şahinol

This paper examines how the constitution of a cyborg emerges within neuroscientific trials with BMI in cronical stroke looking on a micro level and describing, how Human and Machine act in an adaptive way. It does so through a description and an analysis of cyborgical actions within the BMI system. Based on a laboratory study and interviews with several neuro scientists/ surgeons, patient care takers, neuroethicists and patients who worked with BMI, I argue that if something or someone can be understood as a cyborg, his or her actions – within these organic and inorganic parts interact – should be performed circular. Since circularity is the first principle and central concept of cybernetics and actions are based on the circularity of biological and technical aspects, then one can also speak of an acting cyborg (Şahinol, 2016).

As one result of this work, we could rethink Neuroethics underlying ethical concerns with regards to the constitution of acting cyborgs.

 

 

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The “techno-cerebral subject”, a bio-technical form of the cyborg – action theory #cyborgactiontheory

The human as techno-cerebrally operating form – this study shows the adaptation of human and machine in neuroscience and describes the acting of a cyborg.9783837634754_720x720
The neuroscientific studies I analyzed, were concerned with the restoration of cerebral processes by neurofeedback (via Brain-Machine Interface), with which stroke patients had to regulate their brainwaves and thereby to control an orthotic device opening and closing their paralyzed hand. I showed that human-machine adaptation in this context can be divided into three phases of the socio-bio-technical synchronization process. A detailed description on the micro level of the interaction between the organic and inorganic as an ensemble was conceptualized as “techno-cerebral subject”, a bio-technical form of the cyborg. Constituting the human and machine symbiosis as techno-cerebral subject this does not entail an irreversible amalgamation between the organic and inorganic into an entirely new being. On the contrary, it is my understanding that if something or someone can be understood as a cyborg, his or her control and regulation must be achieved in a programmable circular process in which the organic and inorganic parts interact. If actions are based on the circularity of the biological and the technical aspect, then one can also speak of an “acting cyborg”.

 

Das techno-zerebrale Subjekt. Zur Symbiose von Mensch und Maschine in den Neurowissenschaften

Dr. Melike Şahinol

9783837634754_720x720

Abgeleitet aus einer Analyse neurowissenschaftlicher Praktiken und Techniken der Anpassung von Mensch/Gehirn und Maschine/Computer zeichnet Melike Sahinol die Entstehung »techno-zerebraler Subjekte« nach: Anhand von Interviews mit renommierten Neurowissenschaftler_innen und Darstellungen neurowissenschaftlich-klinischer Anwendungsprojekte, die mit Hilfe von Brain Machine Interfaces (BMI) an der Heilung von Schlaganfall- und ALS-Patient_innen arbeiten, zeigt sie, wie die wechselseitige Anpassung von Patient_in und Maschine zur bio-technischen Gestalt des Cyborg führt und Patient_innen als Subjekte konstituiert werden, die einer cerebro-zentristischen Vorstellung entsprechen.

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Das techno-zerebrale Subjekt. Zur Symbiose von Mensch und Maschine in den Neurowissenschaften

 

9783837634754_720x720

Abgeleitet aus einer Analyse neurowissenschaftlicher Praktiken und Techniken der Anpassung von Mensch/Gehirn und Maschine/Computer zeichnet Melike Sahinol die Entstehung »techno-zerebraler Subjekte« nach: Anhand von Interviews mit renommierten Neurowissenschaftler_innen und Darstellungen neurowissenschaftlich-klinischer Anwendungsprojekte, die mit Hilfe von Brain Machine Interfaces (BMI) an der Heilung von Schlaganfall- und ALS-Patient_innen arbeiten, zeigt sie, wie die wechselseitige Anpassung von Patient_in und Maschine zur bio-technischen Gestalt des Cyborg führt und Patient_innen als Subjekte konstituiert werden, die einer cerebro-zentristischen Vorstellung entsprechen.