Queen's University

Neurotech Speakers

Matan Berkowitz

Titles / Affiliation: Shift (private company), Owner/Operator

Bio: Award-winning artist and entrepreneur Matan Berkowitz started experimenting with the translation of physical signals (such as heartbeats, brainwaves and motion) into music and found himself on an unexpected journey: developing unique wearable instruments, creating interactive art installations for museums and galleries, and performing conceptual, tech-infused shows for the likes of TED, Forbes,Google and Microsoft on stages worldwide. Seeking to deepen the potential impact of his work, Matan founded a company and set out to build solutions for people with disabilities - helping blind, paralyzed, amputated and autistic individuals to express themselves in new ways.

Talk Title: Music is the Instrument

Talk Abstract: The talk will include live musical demos of some of Matan's inventions.

Jennifer Chandler

Titles / Affiliation: University of Ottawa, Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics

Bio: Professor Chandler holds the Bertram Loeb Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, leading several research teams at the intersection of biomedical ethics and Law. She is also a co-lead of the Research Core on Ethics, Law and Society for the Canadian National Transplant Research Program. Professor Chandler is internationally recognized for her research and writing in the law and ethics of the brain sciences. She is an elected member of the Board of Directors of the International Neuroethics Society and has done pioneering work investigating the use of neuroscientific arguments in the courtroom and outlining the legal ramifications of emerging neurotechnologies.

Talk Title: Legal challenges of neurotechnology-enabled communication and decision making.

Talk Abstract: Neurotechnology offers promising avenues to assist with communication disabilities. In this presentation, I focus on three types of legal challenges associated with using neurotechnology-mediated channels of communication. First, could these technologies enable people with communication disabilities to testify in legal proceedings? Could they support communication that underlies important civil and political rights like voting or entering contractual arrangements, and could they support autonomy by allowing for consent to bodily interventions? Finally, how would legal concepts and rules relating to harmful communications and privacy apply to these forms of communication technologies?

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith

Titles / Affiliation: Parliament of Canada, Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

Bio: Nathaniel Erskine-Smith is the recently re-elected Member of Parliament for Beaches East York, and the Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, where he recently co-chaired the hearings on Artificial Intelligence. He is a Queen's and Oxford trained Lawyer who worked in commercial litigation prior to becoming an MP.

Talk Title: Federal government's role in shaping law and policy in the area of neurotechnology

Talk Abstract: Mr. Erskine-Smith will outline the role of the federal government, in particular the Standing Committee on the Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics, in studying and reporting on the implications of neurotechnology for Canadian Society. Drawing on recent hearings on Artificial Intelligence, parallel implications for Neurotechnolgy will be discussed.

Ariel Garten

Titles / Affiliation: InteraXon, CEO

Bio: Ariel Garten co-founded InteraXon, which produces the Muse brain sensing device, as an expression of her background in neuroscience, psychotherapy and art, along with her dedication to bring easy-to-use and accessible tools for well-being to the masses. Ariel is also the co-host of the "Untangle" podcast, where she interviews ground-breaking neuroscientists, psychologists and mediators to teach listeners about the brain, how it works, and how to use it to its full potential. Ariel has been a leader in the neurotechnology wearables sphere and is a strong voice for the ethical application of neurotechnology.

Talk Title: Neurotechnology Industry Code of Ethics

Talk Abstract: Garten will outline efforts to develop of code of ethics in the neurotechnology industry

Michael Geist

Titles / Affiliation: University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section)

Bio: Professor Geist is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. One of the foremost public commentators on legal issues related to surveillance technologies in Canada.

Talk Title: Why Copyright Law Poses a Barrier to Canada's Artificial Intelligence Ambitions

Talk Abstract: The Canadian federal government is investing millions into research and commercialization of artificial intelligence, in hopes of becoming a world economic leader in this area. However, restrictive copyright rules may restrict the ability of companies and researchers to test and bring new AI services to market. This paper will explain what copyright law has to do with AI.

Judy Illes

Titles / Affiliation: The University of British Columbia, Medicine

Bio: Judy Illes is the Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics and Professor of Neurology. She is the founding member of Neuroethics Canada, and is globally respected on issues related to neuroscience and society. As co-chair of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS), Prof. Illes has advocated for neuroethics to be an anchor of the brain research strategy.

Talk Title: Neuroethics as an Anchor for the Canadian Brain Research Strategy

Talk Abstract: While leaders in brain research around the world have been building toward an international brain research strategy, Canada has been working on a complementary approach that accelerates international efforts but leverages the unique advantages of Canadian researchers and Canada as a neuroscience-driven nation. A new Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS) offers four strategic pillars of which neuroethics, as part of the application of neuroscience to society, is one. It is also critical to the applicability and implementation of CBRS vision overall.The CBRS aims to be an integrated national research effort that builds on Canada's strengths and current investments in cutting-edge collaborative neuroscience to drive transformative outcomes in neurological and mental health for Canadians.

Brenda McPhail

Titles / Affiliation: Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Privacy, Technology and Surveillance

Bio: As CCLA's Privacy, Surveillance, and Technology Project Director, and a member of the National Security team, my work focuses on protecting privacy rights, and creating public awareness about the ways privacy is at risk in contemporary society. This includes privacy in relation to national security including signals intelligence and intelligence surveillance, privacy and information sharing practices and policies, and privacy in the social context of existing and emerging technologies. I work with amazing lawyers to litigate or intervene in legal cases related to privacy rights, and do my part for CCLA’s public education mandate through participation in high school classes, public panels and conferences, and media interviews. My professional interests are reflected and sometimes discussed in my twitter feed @BJMcP.

Talk Title: Privacy in the Age of Neurotech

Talk Abstract: In the age of big data, algorithmic analysis, and "smart" everything, from watches and phones to cars and cities, understanding and protecting privacy is inescapably intertwined with understanding the ways new technologies are designed, and the ways they work. This talk will outline CCLA's work on privacy and emerging technology and important court interventions, and privacy concerns related to neurotechnology.

Melanie Millar-Chapman

Titles / Affiliation: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Research and Policy

Bio: Working with the Federal Privacy Commissioner is essential in raising issues of current regulatory priorities and larger picture emergent trends that will affect how these policies are implemented in the Canadian context.

Talk Title: The use of Neurotech: Privacy Issues Related to Artificial Intelligence

Talk Abstract: The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has adopted a Declaration on Ethics and Data Protection in Artificial Intelligence at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. While recognizing the benefits that artificial intelligence may bring to people and society, including improving efficiency in the public sector and industry, and new methods and solutions in fields such as public health and medical care and sustainable development. Artificial Intelligence also presents challenges to privacy and data protection rights. The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence should be complemented by ethical and human rights considerations. This talk will highlight challenges in preventing discrimination against people resulting from neurotechnologies in particular.

Graeme Moffat

Titles / Affiliation: Walnut Labs Inc., Founder

Bio: Graeme Moffat has a PhD in Neuroscience from Aix-Marseille University/CNRS. He is an entrepreneur in the neurotechnology industry, most recently as Chief Scientists and VP of Regulatory Affairs at Interaxon Inc., which produces the MUSE brainwave sensing headset for meditation. He has also founded Walnut Labs Inc., which is producing one of the first portable fNIRS (functional near infrared spectroscopy) devices for measuring brain activity in cortex via cerebral blood flow changes. Graeme has expertise in regulatory issues in the neurotechnology industry and is committed to ethical application of these technologies.

Talk Title: Non-invasive methods of brain activity monitoring.

Talk Abstract: In the introductory session on brain-computer interfaces, Dr. Moffat will outline and demonstrate the commercial use of electroencepalography (EEG), which measures electrical brain activity through the scalp. He will also demonstrate the use of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs), an optical imaging technique which can non-invasively measure changes in hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations within the brain as a proxy for neural activity by using infrared light which can pass through the skull.  In the panel on Regulatory Issues, he will contribute to discussion about regulation and policy related to innovation in the neurotechnology industry.

John Weigelt

Titles / Affiliation: Microsoft Canada, Chief Technology Officer

Bio: As the National Technology Officer for Microsoft Canada, John Weigelt is responsible for driving Microsoft Canada's strategic technology efforts. In this role, John helps business and governments innovate with technology while avoiding the unintended consequences that might arise. He leads Canadian outreach for technology policy issues across a wide range of subjects including: Economic Development, Digital Economy, Open Government, Environmental Sustainability, Accessibility, Privacy, Security, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Government 3.0, Spectrum and Intellectual Property.

Weigelt participated in the hearings held by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy. He is a member of CIOSC (Chief Information Officers Strategy Council) as well as Health Canada's Scientific Advisory Committee on Digital Health Technologies. John is a major thought leader on ethical regulation of new technologies such as AI and digital health tech, and will lead our discussion on imagining the future regulatory landscape for neurotechnology.

Talk Title: How Microsoft led on regulatory policy for AI and how that might be applied to Neurotechnology.

Talk Abstract: Technology megatrends are transforming far more than the technological playing field, they are transforming business and broader society. The successful organizations will be the one holding the paint brush; Those that are rewriting the rules of the playing field through business innovation catalyzed by the power of social, cloud computing, big data and ubiquitous computing. The full potential of these game changing trends can only be realized if people have trust and confidence in the underlying tools and services that support them. John Weigelt will explores the how today's technology trends, including emerging neurotechnologies, are changing almost all aspects of our lives and the opportunities in security and privacy that arise as a result.

Shideh Ameri

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Bio: Professor Ameri is an emerging scholar in the neurotechnology sphere. As an electrical engineer, she runs a research program developing graphene tattoo interfaces for measurement of biological and brain signals. This poses a new direction though which brain measurement devices could become less obtrusive and blend better into our lives.

Talk Title: Graphene based skin-conformal sensor for electroencephalography (EEG)

Talk Abstract: Sensor-Skin interface plays important role in eliminating motion artifact while recording electrical signal from a dynamic tissue such as skin, muscles, heart, etc. Conformal contact to the tissue also results in reducing the interface impedance and consequently improving signal to noise ratio (SNR). Graphene is atomically thin layer of carbon atoms with sub-nanometer thickness, high electrical conductivity, high surface charge density and good bio-compatibility, therefore it is an excellent candidate for the next generation of tissue integrated sensors. In this talk, we present ultra-thin and dry graphene based sensor that can be laminated on skin, microscopically conformed to it and be used for the electroencephalography (EEG) recording. The quality of EEG recording using ultrathin dry graphene sensor is comparable with gold standard wet gel electrodes.

Samuel Dahan 

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Faculty of Law

Bio: Samuel Dahan is an Assistant Professor, Queen's National Scholar and cross-appointed to the Smith Business School and Cornell University Law School. He is the Director of the Conflict Analytics Lab, a global consortium concerned with the application of data analytics and artificial intelligence to dispute resolution. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and a member of the Legal Incubateur of the Brussels Bar. Prior to joining Queen's, Samuel Dahan worked as a référendaire (legal secretary) at the Court of Justice of the European Union and as a legal adviser for French Conseil d'Etat (French Administrative Supreme Court.) He was the rapporteur (case handler) for several high-profile antitrust, trademark and employment cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Talk Title: Using AI for Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

Talk Abstract: Designing a more accessible and consistent small-claims tribunal system through the application of deep learning, and developing a deep learning model capable of understanding basic legal concepts; a visualisation system for the assessment of trademark confusion; and a worker classification and employment notice calculation system.

Ron Levy

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Bio: Dr. Levy is a clinician scientist at Queen's University and a functional neurosurgeon at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, where he has built a human functional neurosurgery program for deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's Disease. His research involves determination of the mechanisms of deep brain stimulation using non-human primate models. He is an expert on the development of novel neurosurgical approaches to the recording and stimulation of neural circuits. As such, he has ground level expertise on what is, and is NOT, possible in terms of current invasive neurotechnologies.

Talk Title: Current neurosurgical challenges for BCIs

Talk Abstract: The limitations for approved brain implants to treat neurological disease are their invasiveness, efficacy, and cost. These implants typically stimulate neural tissue to alter brain activity. There are sensing capabilities but these are dependent on our rudimentary knowledge of pathological brain function. We don't yet understand how to interpret normal brain activity well enough to use it for 'mind reading.' I will outline a variety of neurosurgical hurdles that must be solved prior to widespread commercial use of brain implant technologies. The fact that neurosurgeons must do the implantation limits the ethical issues compared with technologies not dependent on surgical implantation.

David Murakami Wood

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, The Surveillance Studies Centre

Bio: One of the leading academics in the field of surveillance studies, specializing in smart city applications and has enthusiasm for the research and strong sense of the big picture in Canada and internationally.

Talk Title: Societal Impacts of Emerging Neurotechnologies

Talk Abstract: Technology is not an unstoppable linear force that cannot be controlled by human politics, they are embedded in the social context in which they are created and used -- technologies are profoundly social. There is a belief that technology will solve all social problems. However, empirical evidence suggests that the reality is not so simple. Prejudices and priorities get embedded within programs, and politics enters the code, where it becomes impossible to see. This raises many important questions for neurotechnologies in Canadian society.

Stephen H Scott

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Bio: Professor Stephen Scott, PhD is the GSK Chair in Neuroscience and is a world expert on the neural basis of voluntary motor function. He is co-founder and CSO of Kinarm which commercializes robotic technology developed in his lab that is presently used around the world for basic and clinical research on sensorimotor function. He has in-depth knowledge on using technology to study brain function and dysfunction. He has in-depth understanding of the history of brain-machine interfaces for motor control and will speak on the history of this field to ground the audience.

Talk Title: Brain and machines: Interfacing and interacting

Talk Abstract: Many technologies have been developed that interface with the nervous system to overcome sensory and motor impairments. For example, cochlear implants were developed many decades ago and are now commonly used to allow individuals who are deaf to hear again. Presently, there is considerable interest to develop approaches that can overcome motor impairments using microelectrodes that directly record neural activity in the brain to control computers, robots or even re-animate paralyzed limbs. I will review the history of these technologies, their potential to overcome sensory and motor impairments, as well as some of the challenges in translating these devices to the clinic.