With the development of neurotechnology accelerating across the world, the UK has an exciting opportunity to help shape the development of a new wave of technologies, but the sector needs support now for this to become a reality. To read more about the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for the UK, and KTN’s proposed approach, read our new report here.

During the early years of the internet (in which ARPA, the predecessor of DARPA, played a central role in its development), it would have been hard to imagine some of its present-day applications. In the same way it is difficult to foresee the full impact neurotechnology might have in the future, but new platform technologies that can make use of neural data and link human brains to artificial intelligence are likely to have an enormous economical and societal impact.

No country yet has an unassailable lead in neurotechnology; however, ‘Big Tech’ (e.g. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba) and governments across the world, especially in the EU, US and China, are investing considerable amounts of money into its development.

With the emergence of new neural interface technologies, the UK has the opportunity to be home to a new generation of technology companies. In order to achieve this aspiration, significant investment is needed to develop and grow a UK ecosystem for neurotechnology. Moreover, by ensuring that the UK has a competitive neurotechnology sector, it will have an active role in the development of new international frameworks in ethics, regulations and data security. The importance of this is cast into sharper focus when considering some of the possible risks associated with neurotechnology, such as thoughts and emotions being monitored or even manipulated by companies, governments or others.

The recent decision to remove all Huawei equipment from UK 5G networks by 2027 demonstrates the government’s commitment to protect the UK’s data from external threats. It is essential that that the government takes an early lead in safeguarding neural data. The Royal Society’s iHuman report sets out a series of recommendations around the use and protection of neural data.

With the development of neurotechnology accelerating across the world, the UK has an exciting opportunity to help shape the development of a new wave of technologies, but the sector needs support now for this to become a reality.

To read more about the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for the UK, and KTN’s proposed approach, read our new report here.

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