Neuroethics & AI-Ethics


With the convergence of AI, microsystems engineering and big data methods, intelligent neurotechnological systems and AI-based algorithms for computational neuroscience are one of the fastest growing fields of neuromedical research and innovation.

These methods offer exciting new possibilities for improving the understanding of brain disorders, to identify new biomarkers, to build intelligent decision-support systems and many other benficial applications.

Yet, these methods also create important ethical, legal, philosophical, social and political challenges. Combining expertise in clinical neurology, neuroscience and neurotechnology as well as neuroethics, the research focus on Neuroethics & AI-Ethics in the Neuromedical AI Lab investigates these challenges through interdisciplinary cooperations, chiefly with the Research Focus "Responsible Artificial Inteligence" at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).

Affiliated Researchers

Philipp Kellmeyer

Dr med Philipp Kellmeyer, MD, MPhil (Cantab)

Leader of the Neuroethics & AI-Ethics research focus

Phone: ++49-761-270-87570

Mail: philipp.kellmeyer at

News, Recent Talks & Publications

  • 11/2018 Presentation and panel discussion "Roboter in der Psychiatrie" [Robots in Psychiatry] at the annual meeting of the DGPPN in Berlin

  • 11/2018 Talk on ethical challenges of neurotechnology and AI at the "Cyborg Days" conference at the University of Zurich

  • 10/2018 Talk at the Zündfunk Netzkongress 2018 of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) in Munich; link here

  • 9/2018 Paper published on ethics and neurophilosophy of virtual reality therapy in neurology and psychiatry, link here

  • 8/2018 Paper published in Science Robotics "Social robots in rehabilitation: A question of trust"

  • 6/2018: Talk "Big Brain Data: Ethical, legal and social challenges from  big data and advanced machine learning in neuroscience" at the IMPRS NeuroCom Summer School 2018 at the MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig

  • 5/2018: Talk at the LMU Munich with the title "Von der „künstlichen“ zur „natürlichen“ Intelligenz: Zur Bedeutung moderner Kognitionstheorien für die Verbesserung intelligenter Systeme" (engl. "From 'artifical' to 'natural' intelligence: How modern theories of cognition may improve intelligent systems")

  • 5/2018: Session at re:publica 2018 in Berlin on ethical and legal aspects of the commercial use of brain data (link to video)

  • 03/2018: Meeting at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection on transparent AI systems in medicine and neurotechnology and how to protect brain data

  • 03/2018: Talk at the Parmenides Foundation in Pullach on ethics of AI and big data in neuroscience and neurotechnology

  • 11/2017: Policy paper (link here) on ethical, social and legal challenges from big data and AI / advanced machine learning published in Nature 

  • 11/2017:Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the International Neuroethics Society in Washington, D.C.:
     "Ethical Aspects of Highly Immersive Virtual Reality Systems in Neurology and Psychiatry", recognized as one of the Top Abstracts

  • 11/2017: Talk in the Neuroscience & Society lecture series at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich, hosted by the Munich Center for Ethics and Prof Ophelia Deroy of the Munich Center for Neuroscience. Topic: Ethics of Big Brain Data and advanced machine learning in neuroscience and neurotechnology

  • 10/2017: Dr Kellmeyer received the Bioethics Award("MTZ-Förderpreis für Bioethik") at the University of Freiburg which is sponsored by the MTZ® Foundation

  • 6/2017: Talks a) at the Neuroethics Network meeting in Paris (1) on responsible algorithmics & machine learning in clinical neuroscience and (2) ethical challenges from the methodological crisis in neuroimaging, b) at the National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on ethics of machine learning in clinical neuroscience; and c) at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) in Vancouver on ethics of neuroimaging (talk) and fMRI multiscale analysis (poster)

  • 4/2017: Public Lecture with the title "Emerging Ethical Challenges of Human-Machine Interaction in Clinical Neuroscience" at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Science communication & outreach 


Peer-reviewed Papers

  • Kellmeyer P, Mueller O., Feingold-Polak R. and Levy-Tzedek S. "Social robots in rehabilitation: A question of trust". Science Robotics. 2018 Aug 15 3(21).
  • Kellmeyer P. Neurophilosophical and ethical aspects of virtual reality therapy in neurology and psychiatry. Camb Q Healthc Ethics. 2018 Oct;27(4):610-627.
  • Kellmeyer P. Big Brain Data: On the Responsible Use of Brain Data from Clinical and Consumer-Directed Neurotechnological Devices. Neuroethics. Online First, May 19th 2018.
  • Yuste, R., [...], Kellmeyer P, [...] et al. Four ethical priorities for neurotechnologies and AI. Nature 551, 159 (2017).
  • Kellmeyer P. Ethical and Legal Implications of the Methodological Crisis in Neuroimaging. Camb Q Healthc Ethics. 2017 Oct;26(4):530-554. (link here)
  • Kellmeyer P, Cochrane T, Müller O, Mitchell C, Ball T, Fins JJ, Biller-Andorno N.The Effects of Closed-Loop Medical Devices on the Autonomy and Accountability of Persons and Systems. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 2016 Oct; 25(4): pp. 623-33. (link here)
  • Seiler CM, Kellmeyer P, Kienle P, Büchler MW, Knaebel HP; INSECT Study Group. Assessment of the ethical review process for non-pharmacological multicentre studies in Germany on the basis of a randomised surgical trial. J Med Ethics. 2007 Feb;33(2):113-8.(link here)
Policy papers & reports

Books / Book chapters

  • Kellmeyer P. Ethical Issues in the Application of Machine Learning to Brain Disorders. In: Mechelli A, Vieira S (Eds.): Machine Learning: Methods and Applications to Brain Disorders. Elsevier, 2019 (forthcoming)
  • Kellmeyer P. Hybrid brains, hybrid ethics? Ethical challenges from neurotechnology and artificial intelligence. In: Müller O, Livanec S (Eds.): Science,  Art  and Neuroethics:   Transdisciplinary Collaborations to Foster Public Engagement. transcript, 2018 (forthcoming).
  • Kellmeyer P. Ethische Fragen bei Brain-Computer Interfaces und anderen Neurotechnologien. In: Müller O, Liggieri K (Eds.): Handbuch zur Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion. Metzler, 2018 (forthcoming).
  • Kellmeyer P, Biller-Andorno N. The «special case»: protection for living organ donors in developing countries. In: Bondolfi A, Seelmann K (Eds.): Ethik und Recht: Die Zukunft der Transplantation von Zellen, Geweben und Organen. Schwabe, Basel, 2007.


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