We ask European citizens: How do we handle the risk that neuroscience could be used for military purposes in the future?

October 17, 2017

The Human Brain Project will conduct ground-breaking research in neuroscience that could potentially be applied for military purposes.
In the coming months, the Danish Board of Technology Foundation will consult citizens from 10 different EU countries, to collect their opinions about the risks of dual use of HBP research.

The Human Brain Project has an ethical responsibility of ensuring that the research resulting from the project is both responsible and in line with societal values. History shows, scientific developments and new technologies have proved useful in other and very different ways than first intended.

The Danish Board of Technology Foundation wants to explore the opinions, values and concerns of citizens across Europe, regarding the potential risk of HPB research on neuroscience, brain inspired computing, and robotics being applied for political, security, intelligence or military purposes.

Involving citizens in the discussion will be of great importance and benefit to the Human Brain Project, providing valuable input and perspectives to scientists and decision makers.

Armed with a better understanding of citizens’ perspectives, the Human Brain Project can communicate better and  develop better research, which takes citizen’s views, concerns and desires into account.


Coming events on Dual Use

In the coming months the Danish Board of Technology Foundation will coordinate citizen involvement across Europe in two stages:

  1. An online consultation will reach out to citizens in 10 different EU-countries. They will be asked what they think about different aspects of the Human Brain Project research and the risks of dual use.
  2. The results from the online consultation will help focus the program of the full-day face-to-face consultations carried out in four different EU countries. Here, citizens will spend a day discussing whether there is an ethical limit to what research the Human Brain Project should undertake in relation to the risk of political, security, intelligence or military use.


What will the results be used for?

The results of the two consultations will contribute to drawing up the official HBP Opinion on the risks of dual use in neuroscience, a means of highlighting issues of central importance to Human Brain Project. These Opinions will provide waypoints for generating an action plan for ethical and responsible research and innovation in the Human Brain Project.

In this way, the European citizens will be given a voice in assessing what ethical values should guide the research in Human Brain Project.


To fill in the questionnaire, go to: hbps.tekno.dk

To read more about the events in Human Brain Project, go to: hbp.tekno.dk

To read more about Human Brain Project, go to: humanbrainproject.eu