The article “Will Neuroscience Radically Transform the Legal System” discusses the use of neuroscience technology in order to enhance the legal system. The fMRI is one of the oldest of the “new” forms of brain scanners used. It allows one to see what parts of the brains are currently working which connects brain activity to certain mental states. Five categories (prediction, mind-reading, responsibility, treatment, and enhancement) are what researchers assume will benefit from the use of neuroscience technologies.
After reading this article it is hard to decide whether or not I am on board with the decision of the legal system to use fMRIs when evaluating people. It all depends on what sector it is being applied to.
In some sense I think it will be beneficial. For example: the ability to read minds. The article explains that hundreds of thousands of people make legal claims for feeling pain. I think it is important to catch those who are lying about their pain. I have heard about several cases when people have been collecting money because they were severely hurt in an accident but the next day they will be spotted working out at the gym. The fMRIs will be able to detect corruption and fraud in the system and distribute money where it is deserved.
I think it is wrong when used to predict and for enhancement purposes. The use of fMRIs should not be present when determining someone’s medical insurance, employment, Medicaid, guardianship, etc. When it is possible to predict at what age certain people will suffer mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease companies will increase medical insurance on the people, they might be fired or suffer salary deductions, and even lose guardianship. Every person should have a fair chance and an even slate. Until the disease is present then action can be taken. There is no reason someone should be penalized based on predictions.
Also I do not think it is moral for the legal system to use fMRIs in order to decide treatments of the accused. A judge should not be able to give a defendant medical sentences. If a person has not had a treatment previous to committing a crime, then they did not desire to be helped. They should not be given “the get out of jail free card” or the option to have surgery or life in jail. Medical procedures should be a choice by people not a punishment given to them. The legal system is crossing the boundaries into personal well-being. A judge should not have the power over a person’s brain and medical surgeries.
Although the legal system is yet to commit to using fMRIs in order to enhance decisions, it is becoming more and more popular. It is important to decipher between personal privacy and boundaries, and when it is acceptable to act with intentions purely to help a person or the community. It is all based or morals, but it is definitely a plus to have concrete evidence.