18 February 2007

Tony Blair's Minority Report

Last Wednesday I noticed a Scientific American report on neuroethics. It began:

"Neuroscientists are making such rapid progress in unlocking the brain's secrets that some are urging colleagues to debate the ethics of their work before it can be misused by governments, lawyers or advertisers.
"The news that brain scanners can now read a person's intentions before they are expressed or acted upon has given a new boost to the fledgling field of neuroethics that hopes to help researchers separate good uses of their work from bad."

When I heard Tony Blair discussing gun crime and the UNICEF report with Andrew Marr on Sunday AM this morning, I realised that the neuroscientists are probably right to fear. His words reminded me of statements the PM made last summer that he believes we need to predict and intervene far more early in the lives of those who are going to become a menace to society, "pre-birth even". In case you missed it, this is what he said today: "My view increasingly is that if you analyse this problem it is a problem of families who need to be put in, with very early intervention, in a structured framework where you are making sure that the children in those situations get looked after from a very, very early age."

As Nigel Cameron says on his blog: The movie Minority Report keeps tugging at today from tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

TB's remarks are wholly consistent with his belief that the state can do a better job than parents.
"Very, very early" intervention reminds me of Friday night's episode of Lilies and the eugenics group who wanted to sterilise society's undesirables.