The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

We Need an Update to On Liberty

So I offer one in The Battle for Your Brain.


To anyone paying attention, it's pretty clear that freedom of thought is under assault in society. What people don't realize, however, is that freedom of thought may be even more endangered in the era of neurotechnology. It's technology that can empower or oppress us. The choice is still ours to make.

I've been following developments in neuroscience and neurotechnology for more than a decade. I'm excited about the promise the developments for humanity. But it wasn't until I started to see major investments by mainstream technology companies into wearable brain-computer interface that I believed neural interface will become part of our everyday lives. But there are powerful headwinds against change, including challenges to our right to access and alter our own brains.

There has been major progress in the past few years by neurotech companies focusing on implanted devices. From Synchron, to Blackrock Neurotech and Neuralink. But it's the mainstream wearable devices and applications that interest me the most—and make me believe that we need an update to Mill's On Liberty. By recognizing a right to cognitive liberty.

That's what I set out to do in my forthcoming book, The Battle for Your Brain: Defending the Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology. And it's the global dialogue I hope to spark in the coming months. I hope you'll join that conversation by pre-ordering the book now. And follow along as I start to share insights here about the coming future, of neural interface becoming part of our everyday lives.

Interested in learning more about the book? Check out the review posted yesterday by Publisher's Weekly. They think you'll be enthralled.