Monday, August 12, 2013

Neurescience exploration and consequences

Interesting articles and comments regarding future directions:

Bursting the Neuro-Utopian Bubble

".....Rafael Yuste, lead author of an ambitious brief that appeared in the prominent neuroscience journal Neuron in 2012. The paper proposed the need for the “Brain Activity Map Project, aimed at reconstructing the full record of neural activity across complete neural circuits.” This April, the Obama administration endorsed the project, setting aside $100 million for it in 2014 alone, and renaming it the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative, or the Brain Initiative for short.
Pyschosocial problems cannot simply be solved in the neuroscientist’s lab.
The project has been compared by the administration to the Human Genome Project, which focused on a problem — the sequencing of the human genome — as daunting as the recording and mapping of brain circuits in action. The success of the Human Genome Project was both scientific and financial: the $3.8 billion invested in it by the federal government has reportedly returned $796 billion, a fact that advocates of the Brain Initiative have been quick to cite as justification for their own undertaking.
Critics of the Human Genome Project have voiced many concerns about genomic sequencing, most of which can also be leveled at the Brain Initiative: What happens when health insurance companies get hold of this information? Could it lead to invasions of our privacy? And, perhaps most fundamentally, aren’t these scientists once again trying to play God? ......."