Latest developments, together with initiatives that have been launched understand the brain And a new ally—artificial intelligence—opens up a decade of enormous expectations about the possibility of transferring the benefits of neurotechnology to society and addressing diseases for which there are no solutions today.
In Lausanne, a 40-year-old Dutchman who lost mobility in his legs in an accident more than ten years ago has been able to walk again, thanks to the first human-computer connection trained with artificial intelligence collect brain stimuli and translate them into digital data and then into motion; An unprecedented advance in the field of nerve surgery.
but in recent months can be seen through speech and images Decoding brain activity using an MRI scanneror the first pediatric exoskeleton – developed by Spanish scientist Elena Garcia Armada– and it facilitates mobility for children affected by cerebral palsy or spinal muscular atrophy.
The two experts analyze some of the most promising technological developments in the field of neurobiology or the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence; There is also the risk, if not prevented, of a disruptive technology when it interferes with the organ that controls the mind and all mental properties (thoughts, feelings or memory).
Professor at Columbia University (USA), neurobiologist Rafael Yuste, one of the “fathers” of the “brain” project Promoted by the administration of Barack Obama and which brings together the efforts of more than 500 laboratories worldwide (with a global budget of approximately $6,000 million and a work horizon reaching 2030). Antonio Oliviero is head of neurology at the National Hospital for Paraplegics (Toledo) -the reference hospital for the treatment of spinal cord injury in Spain-.
The two coincide in outlining the benefits of artificial intelligence in this field and in underlining that any technology is neutral and depends on its use (they cite the case of fire or nuclear physics); Also that this is not the time to stop or slow down any technology and all are necessary to meet the great challenges of medicine.
“The brain is not just another part of the body., but that which generates all our mental and cognitive properties; By understanding how it works, we will for the first time understand ourselves scientifically from the inside out”, said Rafael Yuste, and he was convinced that AI would be the key to this understanding and to transfer all scientific benefits to society. Clinical and economic aspects of neuroscience and neurotechnology.
And it is committed to anchoring the development of this technology in a “concrete” way but always within humanitarian values and in human rights, “because Then you can be one of the greatest forces for good in the world.”
Among the most promising advances in recent months, he cites the possibility of understanding speech and images through decoding of brain activity with magnetic resonance scanners, work that could provide a way to communicate with patients with paralysis, stroke or Alzheimer’s. can open “This is a ray of hope for millions of patients, but it must be done with respect for mental privacy and without deviating from strict safety protocols.”
Yuste mentions the need to extend human rights to include the protection of brain activity with “neurites” that guarantee that people’s brain activity cannot be decoded or manipulated, and in this sense He appreciated the creation of Spain Neurotech to further research in this area. Guide the development of the field and neurotechnology “in an ethical manner within a strong framework of human rights in the digital age”.
In the same sense, Antonio Oliviero claims that in the next decade great progress will be made in understanding the brain and the relationship between this organ and other diseases (“possibly with advances in its treatment”), and warns that Currently, “we go beyond symptom control” in some neurological diseases.
Antonio Oliviero, head of the neurology sector at one of the reference hospitals for spinal cord injuries, has claimed that artificial intelligence enhances the ability to understand complex phenomena and seek innovative solutions. “It will revolutionize medicine in a few years, reducing errors and creating more sophisticated therapeutic options.”
One of the areas where AI will have the biggest impact will be in neurosciences and therapeutics, According to Oliviero, it is observed that it is difficult to predict the effect of multiple factors on the development of a disease and that each patient responds differently to the same drug due to different factors (environmental, genetic or other). develops and that this technology will help a lot in that regard.
Neurologists shed light The relevance of ethical aspects in this type of research, and it is asked, for example, how a patient will react in the long term, thereby “extracting” the desire to transfer it to a computerand the “huge” privacy problems that this system could have if it is not closed, as a “supercomputer” would have the ability to understand these brain signals, but also about a person’s health and even emotions. Many others in too.
Thus Oliviero himself has convinced that artificial intelligence, “in a very broad sense”, can intervene in a person’s personality, but as many products and technologies have already done. “Science provides the tools and solutions and society decides how to use it and where to set the limits.”
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