|Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren in Universal Soldier (1992)|
The Endless Quest for Terminators
- The generals and politicians agree on one thing - They want soldiers who who will slaughter who they are told to slaughter and not ask questions of their Masters.
(Fusion) - For decades, DARPA, the secretive research arm of the Department of Defense, has dreamed of turning soldiers into cyborgs. And now it’s finally happening. The agency has funded projects that involve implanting chips into soldiers’ brains that they hope will enhance performance on the battlefield and repair traumatized brains once the fog of war has lifted.
But creating super soldiers isn’t the only thing that DARPA is trying to do. In a new book, journalist Annie Jacobsen reports on government scientists’ hope that implanting chips in soldiers will unlock the secrets of artificial intelligence, and allow us to give machines’ the kind of higher-level reasoning that humans can do.
“When you see all of these brain mapping programs going on, many scientists wonder whether this will [be what it takes] to break that long-sought barrier of AI,” said Jacobsen, whose new book “The Pentagon’s Brain,” is about the history of DARPA.
For Jacobsen, digging through DARPA documents provided a glimpse at the future of war, but also raised questions about whether that future is one we really want.
“Are hunter-killer robots right around the bend?” she writes.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has poured resources into transforming humans for the theater of war. The agency is pioneering Iron Man-like exoskeletons to help protect soldiers from fire and the elements so they can keep fighting for longer. And under a program called the Brain-Machine Interface, defense scientists have studied how brain implants could eventually enhance a soldier’s cognition.
The brain emits electrical signals and an implanted chip can tap into those signals to read them. Outside of the government, scientists at places like Berkeley’s Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory are experimenting with how to use such implants to translate thoughts into action for people with neurological impairments, eventually hoping to, for example, help a paralyzed person move.
Other DARPA programs have aimed to help soldiers at battle to communicate by thought alone.
“Imagine a time when the human brain has its own wireless modem so that instead of acting on thoughts, warfighters have thoughts that act,” Jacobsen chronicles DARPA’s Eric Eisenstadt telling a crowd at a technology conference in 2002.Read More . . . .
|The Army is building an Iron Man.|
Combine that with chips in soldier's brains. You already know
how that story line is going to turn out for us.