When designing neurotechnologies to assist people with communication disabilities, neuroscientists and engineers must consider both the speaker’s perspective and the listeners’ ability to judge the voluntariness and accuracy of decoded communication. This is particularly important in personally significant communication contexts for which there are profound legal and societal implications.
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments of P. Wood on the use of communication neurotechnology in the context of living with late stage ALS. We also thank E. Snell (Snell Communications), T. Ladd (Cognixion) and the International Neuroethics Society for support for the workshop Breaking Through: Neurotechnology for High Consequence Communication and Decision-Making (Toronto, 2019) that inspired this Comment.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): https://standards.ieee.org/content/dam/ieee-standards/standards/web/documents/presentations/ieee-neurotech-for-bmi-standards-roadmap.pdf
International Neuroethics Society: www.neuroethicssociety.org
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): https://www.oecd.org/science/recommendation-on-responsible-innovation-in-neurotechnology.htm
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA): https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/implanted-brain-computer-interface-bci-devices-patients-paralysis-or-amputation-non-clinical-testing
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Chandler, J.A., Van der Loos, K.I., Boehnke, S.E. et al. Building communication neurotechnology for high stakes communications. Nat Rev Neurosci 22, 587–588 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41583-021-00517-w