Unanimously: [Chilean] Senate approves regulation of NeuroRights

Futuro 360
December 17, 2020

The [Chilean] Constitutional Reform project recognizes mental data as Neuro-Rights, grants them the quality of Human Rights, and includes a Bill for Neuroprotection. "If neurotechnologies are not regulated in time, then it will not be possible at all, like it happened with social media," warned Senator Girardi.


Originally published in Spanish in Futuro 360

By 37 votes in favor, none against and zero abstentions, the Senate Chamber approved -this Wednesday- the Constitutional Reform,which modifies article 19, number 1, of the Fundamental Charter, to protect “the integrity and mental identity of the people in regards to the advancements of neurotechnology."

By 39 votes in favor (end of the matches), and zero against and no abstention, the Bill was approved, on the protection of Neuro-rights and mental integrity, and the development of research and neurotechnologies.

Both initiatives - authored by the Senators who make up the Future Challenges Commission, Guido Girardi (president), Francisco Chahuán, Carolina Goic, Juan Antonio Coloma and Alfonso de Urresti- were approved in general and now return to be discussed individually. The indicated deadlines were set at the 22 (Reform) and the 28 (Bill) of next month.

“Transcendent", "Copernican", "Gigantic Step", "Anticipatory", "Contribution to Humanity", "Pioneers of the Future", and "Small country with a Big Voice", were some of the expressions with which the parliamentarians present in the room and through telematic means decribed the legislative initiatives. Senator Guido Girardi, together with Spanish neuroscientist Rafael Yuste, is the main promoter of the reform and the project. He pointed out that “artificial intelligence seeks to replicate our cerebral cortex with artificial neural systems. The more neuroscience advances, the more AI advances, and vice versa. They both enhance each other and could reach an unimaginable level of development.”

The parliamentarian pointed out that neurotechnologies "have tremendous potential to treat neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia), but they can also manipulate the human brain, introduce thoughts, or know the unconscious." For this reason, he said that the reform presented "recognizes NeuroRights as Human Rights at the constitutional level and protects autonomy and free will, which is the essence of each person."

While the bill "establishes that neural data have the same status as organs and penalizes their trafficking or manipulation, unless there is a medical indication." And he warned that "if neurotechnologies are not regulated in time afterwards, it cannot be done as we have already done with platforms."

Translated by Paloma Rodríguez Páramo.