Neuromarketing Applications of Neuroprosthetic Devices: An Assessment of Neural Implants’ Capacities for Gathering Data and Influencing Behavior

In Business Models for Strategic Innovation: Cross-Functional Perspectives, edited by S.M. Riad Shams, Demetris Vrontis, Yaakov Weber, and Evangelos Tsoukatos, pp. 11-24 • London: Routledge, 2018

ABSTRACT: Neuromarketing utilizes innovative technologies to accomplish two key tasks: 1) gathering data about the ways in which human beings’ cognitive processes can be influenced by particular stimuli; and 2) creating and delivering stimuli to influence the behavior of potential consumers. In this text, we argue that rather than utilizing specialized systems such as EEG and fMRI equipment (for data gathering) and web-based microtargeting platforms (for influencing behavior), it will increasingly be possible for neuromarketing practitioners to perform both tasks by accessing and exploiting neuroprosthetic devices already possessed by members of society.

We first present an overview of neuromarketing and neuroprosthetic devices. A two-dimensional conceptual framework is then developed that can be used to identify the technological and biocybernetic capacities of different types of neuroprosthetic devices for performing neuromarketing-related functions. One axis of the framework delineates the main functional types of sensory, motor, and cognitive neural implants; the other describes the key neuromarketing activities of gathering data on consumers’ cognitive activity and influencing their behavior. This framework is then utilized to identify potential neuromarketing applications for a diverse range of existing and anticipated neuroprosthetic technologies.

It is hoped that this analysis of the capacities of neuroprosthetic devices to be utilized in neuromarketing-related roles can: 1) lay a foundation for subsequent analyses of whether such potential applications are desirable or inappropriate from ethical, legal, and operational perspectives; and 2) help information security professionals develop effective mechanisms for protecting neuroprosthetic devices against inappropriate or undesired neuromarketing techniques while safeguarding legitimate neuromarketing activities.

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The Diffuse Intelligent Other: An Ontology of Nonlocalizable Robots as Moral and Legal Actors

In Social Robots: Boundaries, Potential, Challenges, edited by Marco Nørskov, pp. 177-98 • Farnham: Ashgate, 2016

ABSTRACT: Much thought has been given to the question of who bears moral and legal responsibility for actions performed by robots. Some argue that responsibility could be attributed to a robot if it possessed human-like autonomy and metavolitionality, and that while such capacities can potentially be possessed by a robot with a single spatially compact body, they cannot be possessed by a spatially disjunct, decentralized collective such as a robotic swarm or network. However, advances in ubiquitous robotics and distributed computing open the door to a new form of robotic entity that possesses a unitary intelligence, despite the fact that its cognitive processes are not confined within a single spatially compact, persistent, identifiable body. Such a “nonlocalizable” robot may possess a body whose myriad components interact with one another at a distance and which is continuously transforming as components join and leave the body. Here we develop an ontology for classifying such robots on the basis of their autonomy, volitionality, and localizability. Using this ontology, we explore the extent to which nonlocalizable robots—including those possessing cognitive abilities that match or exceed those of human beings—can be considered moral and legal actors that are responsible for their own actions.

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Neural Implants as Gateways to Digital-Physical Ecosystems and Posthuman Socioeconomic Interaction

In Digital Ecosystems: Society in the Digital Age, edited by Łukasz Jonak, Natalia Juchniewicz, and Renata Włoch, pp. 85-98 • Warsaw: Digital Economy Lab, University of Warsaw, 2016

ABSTRACT: For many employees, ‘work’ is no longer something performed while sitting at a computer in an office. Employees in a growing number of industries are expected to carry mobile devices and be available for work-related interactions even when beyond the workplace and outside of normal business hours. In this article it is argued that a future step will increasingly be to move work-related information and communication technology (ICT) inside the human body through the use of neuroprosthetics, to create employees who are always ‘online’ and connected to their workplace’s digital ecosystems. At present, neural implants are used primarily to restore abilities lost through injury or illness, however their use for augmentative purposes is expected to grow, resulting in populations of human beings who possess technologically altered capacities for perception, memory, imagination, and the manipulation of physical environments and virtual cyberspace. Such workers may exchange thoughts and share knowledge within posthuman cybernetic networks that are inaccessible to unaugmented human beings. Scholars note that despite their potential benefits, such neuroprosthetic devices may create numerous problems for their users, including a sense of alienation, the threat of computer viruses and hacking, financial burdens, and legal questions surrounding ownership of intellectual property produced while using such implants. Moreover, different populations of human beings may eventually come to occupy irreconcilable digital ecosystems as some persons embrace neuroprosthetic technology, others feel coerced into augmenting their brains to compete within the economy, others might reject such technology, and still others will simply be unable to afford it.

In this text we propose a model for analyzing how particular neuroprosthetic devices will either facilitate human beings’ participation in new forms of socioeconomic interaction and digital workplace ecosystems – or undermine their mental and physical health, privacy, autonomy, and authenticity. We then show how such a model can be used to create device ontologies and typologies that help us classify and understand different kinds of advanced neuroprosthetic devices according to the impact that they will have on individual human beings.

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