The Oxford Martin Programme on

Mind and Machine

This research programme ran from 2011 - 2018 and the following pages are an archived resource. The research continues as part of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour (CNCB).

The Project

We have put together a collaboration of biologists, engineers and computer scientists to work on developing and applying technology that will allow the observation of and intervention in brain function.

Advances in understanding how the brain works are rapidly leading to new possibilities for intervention in brain function. The ability of brains and machines to talk to each other directly is fast becoming a very real possibility.

This raises profound ethical issues related to understanding behaviour and potentially manipulating it, so called ‘mind control’.

A pioneer in the field of optogenetics – genetically modifying nerve cells to respond to light – has teamed up with one of Oxford’s leading psychiatrists to create a new kind of research collaboration that will not only advance the science of brain intervention but also develop robust insights into the ethical, legal and social implications of such research.