Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:

Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view

whats new at ieet

Desiderata for a Model of Human Values

Should You Sign Up for Cryonics?

Blue Origin Defeats SpaceX In Landing Reusable Rocket

The Emperor Has No Clothes: Socrates Deconstructs Singularity University

The Future of News? Virtual Reality

Future Fiction: To an Antique Land

ieet books

The Brain: The Story of You
David Eagleman


instamatic on 'The Revenge of the Pagans: Ovid as prophet of the posthuman' (Nov 30, 2015)

Giulio Prisco on 'The Emperor Has No Clothes: Socrates Deconstructs Singularity University' (Nov 30, 2015)

dobermanmac on 'The Emperor Has No Clothes: Socrates Deconstructs Singularity University' (Nov 30, 2015)

balom on 'Obfuscation: protect privacy by destroying the Web!' (Nov 29, 2015)

instamatic on 'Christians Should Support Scientists and Technologists' (Nov 28, 2015)

spud100 on 'Viewpoints on Modern Cosmism' (Nov 28, 2015)

spud100 on 'Christians Should Support Scientists and Technologists' (Nov 28, 2015)

Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month

Why it matters that you realize you’re in a computer simulation
Nov 14, 2015
(68208) Hits
(14) Comments

The Future Business of Body Shops
Nov 15, 2015
(8127) Hits
(0) Comments

Artificial Intelligence is Already Here—Artificial Consciousness is What Eludes Us - See more
Nov 19, 2015
(4340) Hits
(1) Comments

Is Anyone Competent to Regulate Artificial Intelligence?
Nov 21, 2015
(4156) Hits
(1) Comments

IEET > Security > SciTech > Rights > Neuroethics > Privacy > Life > Innovation > Staff > Mike Treder

Print Email permalink (2) Comments (5525) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg

This is Your Brain on Neurotechnology

Mike Treder
By Mike Treder
h+ Magazine

Posted: Aug 24, 2009

An Interview with Zack Lynch, author of The Neuro Revolution.

Zack Lynch is the author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World. The book was conceived as a work of popular science “to broaden the conversation” on what Lynch characterizes as the coming neurosociety. Lynch looks at how neurotechnology—the emerging science of brain imaging and other new tools for both understanding and influencing our brains—will impact the financial markets, law enforcement, politics, advertising and marketing, artistic expression, warfare, and even the nature of human spirituality.

Lynch, founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, also serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. He earned an M.A in economic geography, and a double B.S. in evolutionary biology and environmental science with high honors from UCLA. His master’s thesis examined how the Internet transforms communications and commerce.

Here are a couple of excerpts from an interview conducted with Lynch by h+ magazine...

h+: You characterize the Neuro Revolution as the next revolution after the agricultural, industrial, and information revolutions. Others have characterized the Nanotechnology Revolution (for example, the ability to assemble goods at the molecular level) as such a paradigm-shattering period. Do you see a relationship between these two upcoming “revolutions?”

ZACK LYNCH: Nanotechnology is an enabling technology that will fundamentally drive progress in the neurotech sector. What makes this fundamentally unique, and why the neurotechnology revolution is so profoundly important, is that we are directing our informational and nano technologies at an entirely new domain of human progress: tools for the human mind.

We’ve spent human history—the past several thousand years as I said in the book—developing tools to improve our physical world. Now we are focused on developing tools that will take our wisdom, knowledge, and capital to develop tools that will improve our inner domain. Nanotechnology will be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of drugs, devices, diagnostics, and brain imaging technologies.

h+: So you envision that humans will still be in the loop as decision makers rather than supercomputers making sophisticated trading decisions?

ZL: Right. When things like trading become completely automated over time it’s because they’re based on models. However, the models don’t capture all the elements of our world. And part of what drives financial markets—which is what I try to get across in the chapter “Finance with Feelings” – is human emotions.

So theoretically, if you have a financial market where there are no human actors, then computers will be making the decisions. In reality, however, human emotions will sway the market. We need to figure out how to work with those emotions to understand how they actually influence the financial markets, and then leverage them. Emotions are very sophisticated computational algorithms that have been developed through hundreds of millions of years of evolution. They allow us to cut through a tremendous amount of information and give us instantaneous feedback on what we should be doing.



Mike Treder is a former Managing Director of the IEET.
Print Email permalink (2) Comments (5526) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


As I pointed out in my Amazon review of Lynch’s book, Lynch reveals some unexamined pro-status quo biases. Do we really need financial speculators, like the ones who’ve created the current disaster, to do all this trading so urgently that we have to neuro enhance them? (Would we even notice the difference if these speculators took a lot more time off?) Does it serve society’s best interests to have companies engage in neuro marketing research, using fMRI’s and such, so that they can more effectively sell us crap we don’t need and can’t afford? Do we really need, short of a science fictional invasion by hostile AI’s or space aliens, to create metabolically dominant warriors who can kill people and break things for days at a stretch without remorse, fatigue or the need to sleep? (You wouldn’t necessarily want men like those patrolling the streets in your own country to enforce domestic martial law, or as occupiers from a hostile foreign country.)

I take special exception to Lynch’s view that the neuro technologies industry could turn empathy and “spirituality” into commodities. I want corporations to leave my consciousness alone, thank you.

Neuro technologies have a lot of interesting potential, but they won’t necessarily make our lives better if we use them to enhance people who currently do arguably useless or harmful things so that they can do them more efficiently.

Re Mark Plus’s query: speculators indeed perform a very valuable economic function: anticipating future changes in supply and demand, reacting now, and thereby smoothing the transition to those future conditions.

E.g., if speculators (who compete for best advance information) recognize a looming shortfall of wheat, they buy wheat now, to sell when the shortfall hits, thus raising the price a bit now and thus both keeping some supply in reserve (the supply they are holding) and encouraging less use now, by virtue of the price-rise now that they engendered. Shorter version: speculators smooth out markets, converting what would be disruptive spikes into gradual inclines (or declines).

YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Paranoia is a Pre-Existing Condition

Previous entry: How to Feel Safe with AI


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-428-1837

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @