The effect of cognitive enhancement on the legal responsibility

Andrzej Girdwoyń


The growing popularity of so-called cognitive enhancement technologies raises questions about their impact on the sphere of individual legal responsibility. This article examines the issue of whether, in a situation where a surgeon, prone to making a fatigue-related medical error, refuses to undergo a safe cognitive enhancement before surgery, the surgeon can be attributed liability for damages. The answer to this question is negative, however, as indicated in the article, the impossibility of attributing damages is a result of (1) the lack of professional guidelines requiring doctors to undergo cognitive enhancement; (2) the lack of scientific evidence that the use of such measures results in the elimination of fatigue and reduces the risk of error. As a result, the negative answer to the analyzed question is not determined by the solution of the model of liability for damages adopted in Polish law, but rather by the current state of research on cognitive improvement. This gives the analysis a universal character and makes it possible to relate the method adopted in it to new results of research on means of cognitive enhancement if any.


cognitive enhancement; responsibility; civil liability

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