Call: “(Clinical) Neurotechnology meets AI: Philosophical, Ethical, Legal and Social Implications” (Conference)

Call for Abstracts

Conference: (Clinical) Neurotechnology meets AI: Philosophical, Ethical, Legal and Social Implications
May 8-10, 2019
Munich, Germany

Deadline for submission: January 15, 2019

Organized by the project INTERFACES at the Institute for Ethics, History and Medicine at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich. Project partners are located in Hamburg, Granada and Montreal. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as part of the ERANET Neuron program.

Imagine the coffee machine starts to brew your urgently needed morning coffee as soon as you think the command “start the coffee machine” while still in bed. Is that realistic? Is it desirable?

Neurotechnologies such as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are no longer a futuristic dream or, depending on the viewpoint, a nightmare. They are subject of many research projects and their usability improves rapidly. Today, BCIs represent an important tool for a wide range of medical applications. For instance, they enable otherwise disabled patients to communicate by using a computer via brain activity. Beyond the medical context, they are used in the entertainment sector and developed for business applications. Moreover, it appears that with a similar technological apparatus of a brain-to-brain interface (BTBI), a human brain can also be coupled with another human brain in order to transfer brain activity from one brain to cause brain activity in the other brain, e.g. to stimulate a movement.

At the same time, BCIs and other neurotechnologies stand in a relation with another emerging technology that cuts across many domains of technology use, i.e.  Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI itself raises a host of original problems that can most aptly be summarized as “black box”-problems: It becomes increasingly difficult to supervise and control an AI’s operation because it manages its decision-making logic itself.

Moreover, the use of neurotechnologies and AI in combination elicits some further pressing philosophical, ethical, social and legal concerns, e.g.:

  • How can we conceptualize agency, moral and legal responsibility and autonomy in intelligent neurotechnologies?
  • What implications do BCIs and, even more so, BTBIs have for the concept of acting together?
  • What consequences result in terms of mental privacy?
  • Where is the normative borderline between curing illness, addressing disability and human enhancement, and what does it imply?
  • What anthropological implications do neurotechnologies have?
  • Are there particular legal or normative worries regarding the medical use of neurotechnologies?
  • What are potential domains of application beyond medicine, e.g. the military? What are the ethical, legal and social implications in these contexts?
  • What broader social implications result from the use of neurotechnologies in general?

The conference brings together a wide range of scholars with various disciplinary backgrounds (philosophy, law, social science, cognitive sciences, medicine, engineering) to discuss the multi-dimensional implications of neurotechnology and AI.

We invite scholars who wish to contribute to the conference to submit an extended abstract with max. 1.000 words. Presentations should be confined to 20 minutes presentation, followed by 20 minutes Q&A. We particularly wish to encourage young scholars to submit their work. The conference will be held in English.

Selected papers will be invited to contribute to a volume to be published later in 2019.

Deadline for submission is January 15, 2019. To submit your abstract, please visit and follow the instructions provided. Acceptance notifications will be sent out no later than January 31, 2019. If accepted, the authors will be required to submit the final paper ready for review for the conference volume by March 31, 2019 at the latest.

For more information please visit the conference website:


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