BCI devices and their capacity to express human will having legal value: A model of risk-based classification

Lucilla Gatt, Ilaria Amelia Caggiano, Emiliano Troisi, Livia Aulino, Davide Silvio D'Aloia, Luigi Izzo


One of the ultimate frontiers in biotechnology is Brain-computer-interface. BCI devices are currently developed fortherapeutic purposes (e.g., as assistive tools) but also recreational ones. A BCI system detects brain activity, allowing a decoding of patterns of neural signals, then ‘translatable’ in commands a computer can understand and even carry out in the external reality. That’s why BCI is now becoming more used (or experimented), considering the advantages that could derive from it. Nevertheless, it also raises some questions from a legal perspective. This Paper focuses on BCI-based devices used for assistive and augmented communication of users, and wonders what legal regime should be accorded to the personal will expressed through those tools. Once the risks have been identified, the parameters and requirements a BCI device must meet, for the human will expressed through it having legal value, are outlined. The Paper proposes, in conclusion, a self-assessment strategy to operationalize BCI technologies applicable to the context of legal relations, implementing methods of risk evaluation and management. A riskbased classification model is also suggested


BCI; Brain-Computer Interface; Regulatory perspectives; Vulnerable people; Human enhancement; Legal capacity; Legal relations; Contracting; Risks; Classification;

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