Question: What is the Foundation’s legal status and how is it funded?

Answer: The Foundation is a public charity seeking 501(c)(3) tax exemption status that is active in promoting scientific research, best practices and accreditation of neurotechnologies. It is supported financially by public and private resources.

The Foundation was established in January 2020 as a Delaware Corporation and nonprofit organization for the charitable and educational purposes of serving as a “data repository, standards-setting entity for the collection, accumulation, licensing and use of neurodata, and educational resource on the future of associated technologies.” The Foundation subsequently filed an application for tax exemption status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in March 2020.

The Foundation is funded through the support of public and private resources and it is actively engaged in fundraising activities seeking donations for its establishment.  Further, the Foundation is the sole manager of General Synaptic, LLC (“GenSyn”), a public benefit company established in April 2020 to handle the commercial applications and transactions of the Foundation. The funds received and profits realized by GenSyn will be used to support the Foundation’s charitable and educational activities.

Question: Doesn’t something like this already exist?

Answer: The Foundation is a public charity seeking 501(c)(3) tax exemption status that is active in promoting scientific research, best practices and accreditation of neurotechnologies. It is supported financially by public and private resources.

Yes and no. Given the enormous task that is understanding the human brain and improving mental wellness, no single entity will hold all of the answers / solutions. 

There are a number of governmental, academic, and non-profit efforts to create searchable, workable databases of neurodata both within the United States and Internationally. The recently announced International Brain Initiative is the most exciting, bringing together the initiatives of different countries from around the world – including the BRAIN Initiative (US) and the Human Brain Project (EU). Private collectives, such as BrainCommons, are also making advancements in organizing the increasing amount of neurodata available for purposes of research and development. These efforts are primarily in the neuro-degenerative space.

The Global Brain Data Foundation is both complementary and distinct from existing initiatives. We are focusing on the immediate issues and potential concerns facing neuro-generative and wellness neurotechnologies both today and tomorrow.This includes creating clarity in the regulatory / legal landscape as well as access to a robust and diversified dataset in order to ascertain the quality of innovations. 
The Global Brain Data Foundation places weighted emphasis on promoting individual data empowerment as this plays a critical role in the healthy growth of the neurotechnology industry, and is necessary to ensure individuals have agency over their own mental wellness and control over their data. As such, we are committed to ensuring individuals  own, control, and understand the nature of their personal neurodata, providing them not only with access to but unique functionality within the repository.

Question: What is the potential market for neurodata?

Answer: The simple but uninformative answer is “enormous.”

Realistically, it is almost impossible to answer this question. However, you can begin to understand the gargantuan potential of current and future neurodata by looking at just a few projections for the neurotechnology and mental wellness markets.

The following is a sampling of market value projections of sectors that either are or will be dependent on neurodata for growth:

  • Neuromarketing – $2 billion
  • Neurotechnology – $19 billion 
  • Emotional Artificial Intelligence – $90 billion 
  • Wellness Economy, which includes neurodata dependent subsectors from “wellness in the workplace” to fitness technology to “beauty and anti-aging” – $4.5 trillion 

Question: If the future market of neurodata is so large, what is the incentive for any commercial organization to join?  Wouldn’t they want to protect their own data and not share it?

Answer: To be blunt, the Foundation gives organizations (commercial and non-commercial alike) access to neurodata in a better, faster, and cheaper manner while also building trust by publicly committing to be held accountable to its best practices.

Besides publicly demonstrating to consumers that a commercial entity is complying with the best practices established by the Foundation, contributing and engaging with the Foundation allows legal organizations, and particularly commercial entities, to access  a robust and diverse data set. This dataset will be composed of different levels of brain related data inputted from a cross section of contributors (including academic, scientific, and commercial entities as well as individual data, as authorized).  

This quantity and quality of data would otherwise require years for commercial entities to develop within the market or require the establishment with special / individual agreements to receive. This then provides them with a “one-stop shop” to license and contribute neurodata. The exchange not only provides commercial entities with a means to improve and refine their own technologies with the support of increased data, but also increases the overall quantity, quality and value of the Foundation’s dataset through the exchange.

    Question: What is the source / market for this data outside of the academic and sciences space?

    Answer: Neurodata will be at the heart of nearly every industry in the world within the next decade and a half.

    The historical source / market for this data was almost exclusively medical in nature due to the expense of neural imaging and other biometric technologies needed to gather relevant data. However, as in other sectors, the advancement of technology has both reduced these costs and diversified the manner of data collection. The result is, as demonstrated above, a growing market for neurodata to support the research and development of future innovations in everything from advertising to how we relax. However, given the highly personal nature of this data and its potential value, it is highly susceptible to abuse.

      Question: Could the principles / standards be applicable outside of neurodata?

      Answer: Yes. This is a model that will be applicable to all user-based data in every industry.

      Absolutely. While there will be factors and considerations that are distinct to neurodata, fundamentally, we are looking at how industry can proactively self-regulate a specific subset of data. As such, other industries should be able to reference fundamental principles and concepts incorporated into the best practices established by the Foundation against their own efforts at crafting governance frameworks, bearing in mind potential distinctions and sensitivities.

      Question: I am interested, but would like to learn more about the industry.  Is there anything out there that is basically, “The Future of Neurotechnology and Neurodata for Dummies?

      Answer: Yes! Though none of this is exactly “for Dummies” there is a huge amount of research and commentary regarding the value, ethics, and applications of neurotechnology and neurodata.

      Though we have poured over and adored countless articles, reviews, and commentaries, here are some sources to help you get started learning more about the space:

      Recommendations on Neurotechnology and Neurodata

      Articles of Interest

      Singularity Hub, Decoding the Brain Goes Global with the International Brain Initiative, January 2020.

      Question: Have we missed something?

      Answer: We probably did.

      We know that, just like our mental capabilities, there is always room to improve. If you have additional questions or think we got something wrong, please let us know. This is an iterative process and we are always trying to make sure we are addressing the “big questions.”

      Email Ryan Triplette with any additional questions, comments, banter, or general deep thoughts at ryan.triplette@globalbraindata.org. Trust us, there’s nothing too small or big to throw out for discussion, she likes to engage a lot.  We all do.