U.S. Soldiers Need Brain Enhancers, Say Defense Department Scientists

The latest arms race will take place entirely inside the human mind. So say top scientists with the U.S. military, who have gotten quite a bit of government funding to explore things like memory-enhancing drugs, mind-reading binoculars, and brain-computer interfaces. Today Danger Room's Noah Shachtman reports on how the U.S. military's greatest fear these days, at least as it looks to the future, is losing the brain enhancement race to other nations that are creating souped-up super-soldiers.

Writes Shachtman:

In a recent report, unearthed by Secrecy News, the [Pentagon science advisory team] JASONs are recommending that the American military push ahead with its own performance-enhancement research — and monitor foreign studies — to make sure that the U.S.' enemies don't suddenly become smarter, faster, or better able to endure the harsh realities of war than American troops.

He quotes members of JASON worrying about the possible ways enemies might make use of a brain-computer interface. Most concerning are the problems that:

may arise in a feedback mode, in which a the interface provides a soldier with a simple signal or a pain/pleasure pulse in response to externally provided situational information. Longer term adversarial developments may include prosthetic applications providing specialized sensory input or mechanical output.

Wait, what? A "pleasure pulse in response to externally provided situational information"? OK, I know I read about that on mcstories first. Is it wrong of me to want to volunteer to test one of these out? I only want the pleasure model, though.

Top Pentagon Scientists Fear Brain-Modified Foes [Danger Room]