In 2008, researchers for the first time created cerebral organioids—tiny blobs grown from human stem cells that could grow into brain-like tissues. They helped scientists understand some of our brain functions, and have since been used to research autism spectrum disorders and diseases like the Zika virus. Advancements in artificial intelligence will help catalyze research, eventually leading to more complex and realistic organoids that resemble “mini-brains.” Organoids aren’t conscious—yet—and as experimentation progresses scientists will need to develop ethical standards. There are regulations in place, but this is another field that is developing faster than existing legal frameworks. The Brainstorm Project at the National Institutes of Health is bringing together scientists and ethicists to develop a set of recommendations.
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