Neurotechnologies and Neuro-Enhancement. Ethical Challenges


  • Beatrice Gabriela Ioan Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi, Romania; Institute of Legal Medicine Iasi, Romania
  • Bianca Hanganu Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi, Romania
  • Irina Smaranda Manoilescu Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi, Romania; Institute of Legal Medicine Iasi, Romania



Introduction. Neurotechnologies include specific devices and procedures for accessing, monitoring, investigating, evaluating and manipulating the structure and functioning of the human brain. Neurotechnologies may also be used for enhancement purposes, i.e., neuro-enhancement, in order to increase the individuals' mental and physical capacities. Material and methods. In this paper, the authors analyze, based on the literature data, the ethical challenges raised by the use of neurotechnologies for enhancement purposes of the human being. Results. The ethical analysis of neuro-enhancement starts from the blurring boundary between therapy and enhancement and is polarized between arguments in favor and arguments against this application of neurotechnologies. Neuro-enhancement is supported by arguments such as: the possibility of accelerated development of human species and of the individual, but also the right of the individual to choose freely. At the opposite pole, neuro-enhancement is seen as a threat to human dignity, an attempt to go beyond the limits of nature associated with risks that are still insufficiently known. Neuro-enhancement has also the potential to deepen social disparities and inequities and to create social pressure in the sense of accepting these neurotechnologies, with the annulment of the individual's free will. Conclusion. Neurotechnologies designed to enhance the human being are still in their infancy. However, given the major implications they can have on individual identity and on the evolution of the human species, these technologies must be evaluated and regulated ethically and legally in an anticipatory manner.