Amedeo Santosuosso

Cognitive neuroscience, intelligent robots and the interplay humans-machines

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The paper starts from the historical remark that after 2002 the debate on the interaction between neuroscience and the law was dominated by the idea that a fuller understanding of the neural mechanism for voluntary decision-making might undermine traditional ideas on free will and the legal notion of accountability. In 2013 the Human Brain Project (HBP), in the EU, and the BRAIN Initiative, in the USA, changed the whole scenario of neuroscience. The paper draws on the possibility to pinpoint a new field for exploring issues related to the legal and constitutional status of new entities. Section 2 outlines the double trend preceding the launch of the Human Brain Project and BRAIN initiative in neuroscience and "neurolaw." Section 3 focuses on the main features of the BRAIN Initiative and the Human Brain Project, and Section 4 presents the case of intelligent machines as an example of the implications in the law field of the HBP approach. Section 5 discusses the role of law and ethics in the environment of HBP.


  • Neurolaw
  • Cognitive Neuroscience in Humans and Machines
  • Robots
  • Human Brain Project ELSI
  • Constitutional Rights


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