Date: Monday, 27 August 2018
Time: 5.30pm for pre-event drinks and canapés; 6.30pm start
Venue: Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library Victoria, Entry 3, 179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne – Google Maps
Cost: FREE public event
Register: by 20 August 2018 HERE. Seats are limited.

Guest MC – Lynne Malcolm, host of ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind program.


Advances in neuroscience, computer engineering and artificial intelligence are opening a new world that holds promise and challenges for scientists, philosophers and ethicists.

New technologies that connect brain activity to powerful computers have the potential to revolutionise medicine. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) may restore sight, improve mobility for people with spinal injuries, prevent epileptic seizures, and allow those who’ve lost the ability to communicate to converse again. Emotions, thoughts and behaviours may also be predicted, detected and altered by BCIs.

The ability to decode and influence brain activity presents ethical questions for society:

  • Who is responsible for the thoughts, intentions or actions decoded in a person’s brain activity?
  • Who is doing the thinking in these instances?
  • Who has access to a patient’s brain activity?
  • Are BCIs a new threat to privacy and the freedom of thought?
  • Is this just science fiction or issues we need to consider before BCIs are further advanced?

This FREE public event will bring together leading international and national scientists, engineers and philosophers to discuss the unique challenges posed by the brave new world of brains and computers.


Dr Hannah Maslen
Deputy Director, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, UK

Dr Maslen is a Research Fellow at New College and at the Oxford Martin School. She works on a wide range of topics in applied philosophy and ethics; from neuroethics, to moral emotions and criminal justice. She is a Principal Investigator on the Horizon 2020 BrainCom project, which aims to advance the basic understanding of speech networks in the cerebral cortex, and to develop rehabilitation solutions using innovative brain-computer interfaces. She leads the work package on ‘Ethics, Implants and Society’. You can find more information about her on her website.

Prof Eric Racine
Director, Pragmatic Health Ethics Research Unit, Montreal Institute for Clinical Research, Canada

Dr Racine is Full Research Professor and Director of the Pragmatic Health Ethics Research Unit at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) with cross-appointments at Université de Montréal and McGill University. Inspired by philosophical pragmatism, his research aims to bring to the forefront the lived experience of ethically problematic situations by patients and stakeholders and then to resolve them collaboratively through deliberative and evidenced-informed processes.

Prof Jeffrey Rosenfeld AC, OBE
Director, Monash Institute of Mechanical Engineering

Senior Neurosurgeon, Alfred Hospital
Professor of Surgery, Monash University
Prof Rosenfeld is an internationally recognised neurosurgeon and is the lead clinician in the Monash Vision Group. The MVG is  developing a bionic vision device to restore vision in blind individuals. This is an implanted wireless electrode interface with the brain which is an example of a brain-computer interface device. He has an interest in the technical, clinical and ethical aspects of brain-computer interfaces. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and the Australian Academy Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Dr Isabell Kiral-Kornek
AI and Life Sciences researcher
Isabell received her Diploma in Electrical Engineering from Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany, focussing on signal processing and radio frequency applications, with a special interest in cochlear implants. She subsequently did a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. As part of Bionic Vision Australia, her research was centred around finding novel stimulation strategies for retinal implant users. Isabell joined IBM in 2015. Her research interests lie in developing neural networks for biomedical applications and neural modelling.



Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge 2018 – Round 2

When: June – August 2018
Who: Year 10 students
Cost: Free

Round 2 of the competition is the State Finals, held in each State and Territory in Australia, and in the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Students who achieve a high score in Round 1 are invited to attend a full day of activities at a university campus or research institution. The Round 2 study book is Brain Facts, 2012 Edition by the Society for Neuroscience.

As well as participating in two rounds of live questioning to determine who will become the State or Territory champion, students also experience a day filled with activities to educate them about neuroscience research. This may include lab tours, demonstrations, lectures, experiments and the opportunity to speak to researchers. There is also a team competition on the day where schools compete against each other to win prizes for their school.

Visit our Australian Brain Bee Challenge website page for more information.