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September 30, 2005
DARPA's Radical Neurowar Technologies
All technologies are double-edged swords. While advances in neuroscience are making possible more effective treatments for mental illness, the same technology is also going to be used for other purposes. For example, the U.S. Defense Science Office recently announced that it is creating a future in which our warfighters instantaneously assimilate all available information through advances in neurotechnology.
One program promises a future in which warfighters can maintain their peak physical and cognitive performance, despite battlefield stressors such as sleep deprivation and exposure to extreme environments. The DSO envisions a future where severe pain is eliminated for weeks with a single dose and no adverse cognitive effects. Remarkable, they state, this pain therapy is already in clinical trials.
Another program that has come out of the DSO's long investment in understanding language of the brain has led to the possibility of the developing an upper limb prosthetic that responds to brain control, a prosthetic that has all the motor and sensory capabilities of a natural limb. While this program might have alternative uses, it is currently targeted to help returning soldiers who have lost a limb to participate more fully in their return to society.
These are just a few of the programs that are beginning to give rise to the scary neurowar scenario I have previously written about.
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