Emerging technologies have a tremendous impact on human life and its fundamental principles. In order to maximize their benefits for welfare of humanity and manage and reduce their risks and detrimental effects, these technologies and their products must be actively addressed by the academic research on theoretical and practical level. The goal of the project is to create a fully–fledged philosophically grounded and transparent framework for description, assessment and forecast of acceptability of human cognitive enhancement (HCE) systems. Crucial aspects of HCE assessment lie in the ethical challenges and evaluation. The research conducted at University College of Gjovik will enable to tackle and redefine the concepts of health, disease and aging on high level of expertise in health technology assessment. The team from Oslo and Akershus University College has long experience in studying different forms of regulation and governance and thus will help to aim the outputs of the project efficiently to policymakers, stakeholders and other governance bodies.
Summary of project results
The project Naturalness in Human Cognitive Enhancement (HCENAT) aims at building up a new international research partnership in the field of Human Cognitive Enhancement (HCE) and to provide clear and accessible HCE-related analysis, guidelines and directions for policymakers, stakeholders, HCE engineers and consumers. Its goal is to create a philosophically grounded, open and transparent framework for description, assessment and forecast of acceptability of HCE systems in public space and by society, as well as for HCE governance issues. The goal of the project was to create a fully-fledged philosophically grounded and transparent framework for description, assessment and forecast of acceptability of human cognitive enhancement (HCE) systems. Main part of the projects’ outputs represent the scientific papers, monographies and chapters in books (30). We also developed two software applications, more than 15 personalised speech synthesizers and produced two publicly available reports. The inherently transdisciplinary research discourse built by the project comprises and links together very diverse range of disciplines and methods such as technology assessment, ethics, logic, set theory, philosophy of science, philosophy of medicine, cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and speech technologies. During the project implementation we followed the publicity plan and managed to organize 1 launch event (Berlin), 2 progress events (both in Nečtiny) and a closing event (Brussels) – see section 2.5.3. We prepared several graphical materials to promote the project, e.g. a brochure “Speech synthesis for patients of Ear-Neck-Throat clinic at Motol”, Report on Health Aspects of Augmented Reality Glasses, HCE Wikipedia leaflet, Report on Responsible Research and Innovation for Human Cognitive Enhancement, Conceptual keyboard leaflet. These and more materials can be found at the project’s website: http://mmi.zcu.cz/hcenat
(Czech version is also available by clicking “CZ” under “Naturalness in Human Cognitive Enhancement, 2014-2017” heading. Our researchers presented the project in 20 lectures or posters, mostly on international congresses. Each published research paper, impacted article, report, etc. includes an acknowledgement reporting to the project. Whenever possible, we took the opportunity to promote the project in local media, amongst other our booth at Forskningstorget science fair in Oslo (2016) stands out, since the event receives thousands of visitors. The HCEwiki is available at: http://hcewiki.zcu.cz/
Summary of bilateral results
Without the proposed project, it wouldn’t be possible create such a focused international and interdisciplinary project consortium that focused on highly discussed and pressing issues of today’s society. In terms of sustainability, a strong network between Norwegian and Czech partners has been created and new projects proposals on both international and national levels are being prepared in order to maintain current outcomes and cooperation. The project consortium consists of 5 partners: University of West Bohemia in Pilsen (project promoter), National Institute of Mental Health in Prague, Charles University in Prague, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Each partner participated as a work package leader responsible for the tasks of their respective expert domain. Norwegian partners brought insight in the project’s tasks in area of ethics and RRI, Czech partners provided technical and software support in application development, expertise in neuroscience and cognitive science field, philosophy of technology, and last but not least, in clinical praxis of otorhinolaryngology. The Czech-Norwegian partnership enabled synergistic and very effective way of scientific work and deepened our mutual knowledge exchange, resulting into the state-of-the-art outcomes of the project. New overlapping research interests and scientific project proposals are prepared based on HCENAT project experience. The societal implications of the project are significant thanks to the project activities and outcomes that are focused directly on policy makers, research funding bodies and general public, especially in terms of HCE acceptability, safety and future HCE research funding.