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


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Gilbert, F ORCID: 0000-0003-0524-8649, Cook, M, O'Brien, T and Illes, J 2017 , 'Embodiment and estrangement: Results from a first-in-human ‘‘intelligent BCI’’ trial' , Science and Engineering Ethics , pp. 1-14 , doi: 10.1007/s11948-017-0001-5.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Gilbert, F and Cook, M and O'Brien, T and Illes, J
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
Journal or Publication Title: Science and Engineering Ethics
Publisher: Opragen Publications
ISSN: 1353-3452
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s11948-017-0001-5
Copyright Information:

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

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