Neurotech Conference
Toronto, Canada
June 5, 2019

Neurotechnology for High-Consequence Communication and Decision-Making


Commerce Court West
5th Floor
30 Wellington Street West
Toronto, Ontario, M5L 1L5


Cognixioin: AI-Powered People

The International Neuroethics Society and Cognixion are hosting a special 1-day conference on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. Experts from industry, academia and legal professions will come together to discuss the social and ethical implications of neurotechnology relating to health, crime, and civil and disability rights. Find out what the future holds for neurotechnology.

Neurotechnology is advancing at an astonishing pace which will bring massive benefits to people disadvantaged by disease, disability or injury. But where we rely on neurotechnology to enable communication, the stakes are high.

  • How will the implantable devices be personalized for the user?
  • How can employers prepare for an employee doing their job with the help of neurotechnology, and how will this affect the employee’s rights?
  • Could neurotechnology be misused, or used for criminal activity? If so, how?

This event will explore the implications of neurotechnology in issues such as:

  • Law
  • Life planning
  • Disclosure of abuse
  • Consent
  • Medical assistance in dying

The event will be of particular interest to:

  • Neurotechnology industry professionals
  • Neuroscientists and neurologists
  • Psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Lawyers and lawmakers
  • Civil and disability rights professionals
  • Ethicists and philosophers


To attend, register online in advance. Your registration fee includes lunch, tea and coffee, and the reception.

  • General $190 USD
  • Student $115 USD
  • INS Members $150 USD
  • INS Student Members $90 USD

To receive the 20% discount, INS members are encouraged to log in to the website prior to completing the registration form.


Share the meeting flyer with colleagues and students.

flyer view


Registration and Coffee (8:30–9:30 AM)


9:30–9:45 AM


Conference Co-Chairs

  • Judy Illes, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
  • Tom Ladd, Cognixion (Toronto, ON)


9:45–11:00 AM

Health, Research, and Medical and Home Care


Break (11:00–11:30 AM)


11:30 AM–12:45 PM

Criminal Law

  • Opening remarks by Hank Greely, Stanford University
  • Introductory talk on 'Legally-Significant Communication – Consent, Harmful Speech and Witnesses' by Jennifer Chandler, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
  • Response from Bruce Daley, Daley Byers (Toronto, ON)
  • Response from Adrian Nestor, University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
  • Open discussion
  • Summary and conclusions by moderator


12:45–2:00 PM

Lunch and Networking

  • Neurotech demonstrations and networking


2:00–3:15 PM

Civil and Disability Rights

  • Opening remarks by moderator Deanna Groetzinger, Neurological Health Charities Canada
  • Introductory talk on 'Re-imagining Disability Rights at the Interface with Neurotechnology' by Michael Bach, IRIS (Toronto, ON)
  • Response from Matthew Sample, McGill University (Montreal, QB)
  • Response from Daniel Buchman, University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
  • Open discussion
  • Summary and conclusions by moderator


Break (3:15–3:45 PM)


3:45–4:55 PM

Future of Neurotechnology

  • Opening remarks by moderator Judy Illes 
  • Introductory talk on 'The Internet of Minds' by Tom Ladd
  • Response from Ariel Garton, Muse (Toronto, ON)
  • Response from Joseph J. Fins, Weill Cornell Medical College (New York, NY)
  • Open discussion
  • Summary and conclusions by moderator


4:55–5:00 PM

Closing Remarks

  • Judy Illes


5:00–6:00 PM



End of Meeting (3:15–3:45 PM)

Talk Details

Health, Research, and Medical and Home Care

Image of Nir Lipsman

Neurotechnology and Communication: Perspectives from Clinical Neurosurgery and Research in Neuromodulation

Nir Lipsman, Sunnybrook Research Institute

Neurotechnology, from imaging to brain implants, is ushering in a new age of communication with patients. Whether aiding physical mobility and memory with brain stimulation, or permitting access to thoughts and desires otherwise locked-in, it is tempting to consider technology to enhance communication as good. This presentation will expand on the interface between technology and communication in the clinical and research setting, and help to identify the ethical and broader implications of a science of enhanced communication.


Criminal Law

Image of Jennifer Chandler

Legally-Significant Communication – Consent, Harmful Speech and Witnesses

Jennifer Chandler, University of Ottawa

Communication is at the heart of many aspects of the criminal law and procedure. The communication of consent can transform what might otherwise be a criminal interference with a person’s body into a permissible action. Certain types of statements may themselves constitute crimes, and testimonial capacity depends not just on cognitive capacity but also the ability to communicate. As neurotechnology-mediated forms of communication develop, the law will need to confront their use in contexts with potential implications for criminal justice.


Image of Michael Bach

Civil and Disability Rights

Re-imagining Disability Rights at the Interface with Neurotechnology

Michael Bach, IRIS

The 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is said to have introduced a new paradigm in disability rights.  Neurotechnology for human cognitive enhancements has developed apace, radically expanding the scope of human possibility and interaction.  This presentation explores the visions of what it means to be human in these parallel developments. Do they reinforce a version of human agency grounded on cognitive ability? Can a conversation at their nexus open to a re-imagination of what it means to be human?


Future of Neurotechnology

Image of Tom Ladd

The Internet of Minds

Tom Ladd, Cognixion

The future of neurotechnology depends upon advances in hardware, software and in medical science. What will drive non-invasive technology? Who is moving towards invasive technology to open communications from the mind and what are the impediments? If the 'Internet of Things' becomes the 'Internet of Minds,' can we communicate with one another brain-to-brain? Effective and widespread brain computer interface will affect our ability to drive, shop, and care for one another. What will that world be like? 

About the Organizers

The International Neuroethics Society is an interdisciplinary group of scholars, scientists, clinicians, and other professionals dedicated to encouraging and inspiring research and dialogue on the responsible use of advances in brain science. Practitioners from a wide range of disciplines join the Society to interact, learn, and participate in critical neuroethics discussions that further this growing field.

Cognixion is a mission-driven company aiming to unlock speech for hundreds of millions of people worldwide affected by communication disabilities. By providing affordable and accessible technologies that are powered by artificial intelligence, the world will look and feel very different in the next decade.