science and society
The human brain, one of science's last frontiers is becoming demystified. At MIT's Neuroengineering and Neuromedia Lab, scientists are working on how to change our brains, with enormous implications for treating neural conditions, but we could also use these advances to make people happy, or even to make people dance. More than half of employers in the UK will not hire someone with a known mental disorder, while 80% think this to be ‘a risk' for a customer-facing role. Perhaps attitudes and perception of risk will change as neural conditions become more treatable through greater control of our brains.
As more advances are developed, there are increasing ethical landmines associated with violations of privacy. Law courts are now enjoying better evidence through mind reading technology, and there is increasing potential to use technology to predict criminal behaviour. For the workplace, computers are being developed that respond to users' thoughts of frustration - too much work, too little work, or boredom. In times of economic hardship, could technology like this ever be justified to increase productivity? If these technologies do deliver, HR professionals will be among those navigating these ethical landmines of neuroscience. How to retain and attract talent could be radically different; will the brain scan be the next psychometric test?
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