Annual Meeting

Are Human Beings Controllable? Insights into the Brain and Ways of Modifying its Function

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Leibniz-Saal, Markgrafenstraße 38, 10117 Berlin


Our brain is becoming increasingly accessible to medicine and research. Imaging techniques allow deeper insights into brain structures and functions. Our knowledge of the biochemical processes and cellular networks underlying brain activity is growing, and along with the pharmacological and technical possibilities of influencing thought processes and moods in both sick and healthy people.

The annual meeting of the German Ethics Council will present current and possible future insights and interventions in the human brain, and consider the respective ethical and legal challenges.

  • Can images of the brain help us to understand how we feel and think?
  • Is it acceptable that healthy people take medication that has been developed for the treatment of mental illness, dementia or attention disorders?
  • What are the consequences when implanted electrodes can influence brain functions such as motor skills, speech and mood in an increasingly targeted manner?

Following reports from medicine and research as well as philosophical and legal analyses, the speakers will join the audience and the members of the Ethics Council in discussions on the question of what it means to rethink our human self-image by means of ever deeper insights and interventions in our brain.