Neuroscience and Society
Ethics, Law, and Technology — 24-25 August 2018, Sydney, Australia
Advances in brain scanning and intervention technologies are transforming our ability to observe, explain, and influence human thought and behaviour. Potential applications of such technologies (e.g. brain-based pain detection in civil lawsuits, medications to help criminal offenders become less impulsive, prediction of future behaviour through neuroimaging) and their ethical, clinical, legal, and societal implications, fuel important debates in neuroethics. However, many factors beyond the brain – factors targeted by different emerging technologies – also influence human thought and behaviour. Sequencing the human genome and gene-editing technologies like CRISPR Cas-9 offer novel ways to explain and influence human thought and behaviour. Analysis of data about our offline and online lives (e.g. from fitness trackers, how we interact with our smartphone apps, and our social media posts and profiles) also provide striking insights into our psychology. Such intimate information can be used to predict and influence our behaviour, including through bespoke advertising for goods and services that more effectively exploits our psychology and political campaigns that sway election results. Although such methods often border on manipulation, they are both difficult to detect and potentially impossible to resist. The use of such information to guide the design of online environments, artifacts, and smart cities lies at the less nefarious – and potentially even socially useful and morally praiseworthy – end of the spectrum vis à vis the potential applications of such emerging “moral technologies”.
At this year’s Neuroscience & Society conference we will investigate the ethical, clinical, legal, and societal implications of a wide range of moral technologies that target factors beyond, as well as within, the brain, in order to observe, explain, and influence human thought and behaviour. Topics will include, but are not limited to:
- cognitive and moral enhancement
- neurolaw and neuro-evidence
- brain-computer interfaces
- neuromorphic engineering and computing
- mental privacy and surveillance
- social media and behaviour prediction/influence
- implicit bias and priming
- technological influences on human behaviour
- nudging, environment and technology design, and human behaviour
- artificial intelligence and machine learning
- technology and the self
- (neuro)technology and society
We invite abstracts from scholars, scientists, technology designers, policy-makers, practitioners, clinicians and graduate students, interested in presenting talks or posters on any of the above or related topics.
Abstracts of 300 words should be emailed to Cynthia Forlini <> in Microsoft Word format by Thursday, 31 May 2018. Submissions will be peer reviewed, and authors of successful submissions will be notified via email by Friday, 15 June 2018.
In addition to keynote presentations (to be announced shortly), contributed talks, and a poster session, the conference program will also include three sessions on the following topics:
- highlights from- and information about enhancements to the Australian Neurolaw Database
- book symposium on Neuro-Interventions and The Law: Regulating Human Mental Capacity
- panel on the topic of remorse
For enquiries about matters other than abstract submission, please email Adrian Carter <> or Jeanette Kennett <>
Neuroscience & Society is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function Neuroethics Program, and the Centre for Agency Values and Ethicsat Macquarie University.