Neuroenhancement is the use of medical or technological interventions to improve cognitive or mental abilities. This can include things like prescription drugs, brain-computer interfaces, or other techniques designed to enhance mental performance.

The potential benefits of neuroenhancement are numerous. For example, it could be used to help people with cognitive impairments, such as those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, to improve their mental functioning. It could also be used to help healthy individuals to enhance their mental performance, such as by improving their memory, concentration, or problem-solving skills.

However, there are also some potential pitfalls to neuroenhancement. One concern is the possibility of unequal access to these technologies, leading to a divide between those who are able to enhance their mental abilities and those who are not. This could create a “two-tier” society where those with access to neuroenhancement have an unfair advantage over those without.

Another potential pitfall is the ethical concerns surrounding neuroenhancement. For example, some people argue that using neuroenhancement technologies to improve mental abilities could be seen as “cheating” or unfair. In addition, there are concerns about the potential long-term effects of these technologies on the brain and on overall mental health.

Overall, neuroenhancement has the potential to greatly improve cognitive abilities and mental performance. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and drawbacks of these technologies, and to use them responsibly.

Neuroenhancers are designed to boost various mental performances and/or monitor and record brain activity, with plenty of new applications in use or in development.

On the simple end of the spectrum, an Australian company’s “SmartCap” keeps workers alert with voice warnings and vibrations when it detects a decrease in brain activity. The “Muse” headband provides neurofeedback to help users manage stress and improve athletic performance. Another device monitors brain waves and delivers low-grade electric pulses to moderate differences between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

Perhaps more ominously, the Chinese military and some industries are using the technology for “emotional surveillance” as a means of optimizing productivity.