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Greater Knowledge of the Brain May Lead to Super-Soldiers and Mind Controlled Weapons, Says DIA Report

posted 02:00 AM EST, Tue July 14, 2009
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Greater Knowledge of the Brain May Lead to Super-Soldiers and Mind Controlled Weapons, Says DIA Report © Photo: Kyle May

Neuroscientists working to unlock the mysteries of the mind may provide military strategists with fertile material for new weapons development, says a report by leading scientists for the DIA

Mind controlled military drones, soldiers without guilt or emotion, electronic pulsing machines that force people to reveal the truth – these all sound like the imaginings of science fiction but are actually the scientific predictions from some of America's top minds.

The Defense Intelligence Agency commissioned a report from many of America's leading scientists, asking for informed speculation on how increasing understanding of the brain may translate to novel medications or technologies – and their possible military or security implications.

In their report, these scientists predict continuing rapid advances in our comprehension of neural function and with it a startling array of real world possibilities. They also suggest that increases in computing power will provide lesser world powers access to develop their own neural-weapons, weapons that unprepared nations won't likely have adequate defenses for.

Speculative ideas generated by the scientists include:

  • Drug based land mines - Land mines that release a pharmacological agent (a drug) to disable (or kill) opposing forces
  • Mind controlled technologies – machines that connect directly with the mind, such as mind controlled military drones
  • Machines that enforce truth – Machines that disable a person's ability to lie (ending a need for torture)
  • Drugs that increase battlefield performance – medications that could increase strength, stamina or cognition, or drugs that could reduce the emotional burden of combat
  • Machines that could spot anxiety or fear – for imagined use in security operations, such as at an airport, for example

Although the possibilities are mind-boggling, Kit Green, chairman of the investigative report, says that there are few in the intelligence community that can truly understand the science. He warns that unless governments increase their expertise capacity to deal with coming neurological weapons and advances, "It's going to be impossible to predict surprises."

Jonathan Moreno, an expert in the fields of neuroscience ethics and national security matters compares today's neuroscientists with the physicists of the 1940's who worked on the development of the nuclear bomb. The difference, though, says Moreno, is that "Neuroscientists working in labs today might be blissfully unaware of how their research could be used in war."

The full text report can be read at Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies.

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