From the Archives: DARPA and Neuroethics

moreno-blog-100In an essay for Cerebrum in 2004, neuroethicist Jonathan Moreno described how the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was supporting projects aimed at using neuroscience to improve US military prospects. This month, Moreno, a professor at University of Pennsylvania and a member of the former US bioethics commission, wrote for The Neuroethics Blog on “neurosecurity”—its history and current strategy and the need for neuroethicists to weigh in on it.

In 2004’s “DARPA on Your Mind” he stepped through a series of research areas, spelling out some of the ethical questions attached to tinkering with the brain:

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First BRAINI Blueprint

Accepting the interim report of the institute’s working committee, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins approved initial areas of high-priority brain research to guide funding based on the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. The initiative was announced in April by President Obama, who called for a total of $110 million in the 2014 fiscal year budget to support the effort, of which $40 million is expected to be allocated by NIH.

“It’s a great blueprint for getting started,” Collins said. The initiative aims to revolutionize studies of the human brain by building or improving tools that show the workings of the brain, from molecules to behavior. Its goal is to enhance understanding of the brain and improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of brain diseases.

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