Scientists say that the next step in modern warfare will be to augment the minds of soldiers taking the battlefield, so that they are able to interface with their weapons directly. What this means is that the warfighters will be able to use their brains to control firearms and other equipment directly.
Naturally, once this ability is gained, it will not be limited to using it on small or medium fire arms. Unmanned drones, antiaircraft cannons, tanks and helicopters could be controlled by single individuals using their minds to take care of all systems.
In order for that to happen, prospective soldiers will be subjected to brain scans during the recruitment process, which would establish whether they are capable of handling such a complex task. The military is apparently very willing to include the latest science in its plans.
Neuroscientists have been making considerable progress lately, especially in terms of figuring out how to read neural activity patterns, and translated them into thoughts, motions of cursors on computer screens, or even video clips, The Guardian
But employing mind-reading technologies in military and law enforcement contexts raises numerous legal and ethical concerns, which authorities and governments need to address thoroughly. The UK national academy of science, the Royal Society, released a report on this issue on February 7.
The document explains that mind-reading technologies are primarily being developed for medical applications. Patients who suffer from paralysis, and cannot speak at all, may have their thoughts translated directly into words, bypassing their paralyzed mouth.
“Neuroscience will have more of an impact in the future. People can see a lot of possibilities, but so far very few have made their way through to actual use. All leaps forward start out this way. You have a groundswell of ideas and suddenly you get a step change,” Rod Flower explains.
The chair of the report's working group adds that neuroscience will also contribute to the creation of new drugs that increase the neural performances of soldiers, reduce enemy combatants' ability to fight back successfully, or even put the opponents to sleep.
Electroencephalograms will soon be used on the battlefield, in combination with a technique called “neurofeedback,” to enable warfighters to control their own brain waves, and then significantly improve their own performances.