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Cognitive Freedom Concerns

Date: 05-04-04
Host: George Noory
Guests: Richard Glen Boire

Richard Glen Boire, the Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, discussed freedom of thought which may face challenges from new developments in technology and pharmacology. "We need to have in place protections," he commented, as there is the possibility that these new tools could infringe on people's mental freedoms.

"Brain Fingerprinting," which works by measuring brain wave reactions to certain images or words, is one such technology that could be considered an invasion of mental privacy, said Boire. "Hypersonic Sound" which can narrow cast sound signals directly into someone's eardrums may have useful applications, but also has the potential for misuse, he added.

"Memory management" drugs coming onto the market may allow a person to diminish or improve their recall of events within certain time periods, and this could create some complications for the field of medicine, he said. Perhaps more insidious is the use of "neurocops," pharmaceuticals designed to attach to receptor sites that illegal drugs plug into, Boire noted. A drug such as this could, for example, prevent a marijuana user from being able to get high on that substance.

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