The US Army plans to enhance the capability of soldiers via a human-machine fusion programme, including connecting human brains to computers in order to control vehicles, reported the Army Times, citing data from a report by the Department of Defence titled “Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human/Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of the DOD". The report was written by a research group that studies the effects of military bio-technology. The group outlined four enhancements that are “technically feasible by 2050 or earlier”.
- soldiers will be able to have supersensitive vision
- auditory enhancement for communication
- restoration of muscle tissue and programmed muscle control due to wearing robotic technology
- brain enhancement – connecting human brains to computers - that would allow two-way data transfer
The research group stresses that brain enhancement could revolutionise combat.
"This technology is predicted to facilitate read/write capability between humans and machines and between humans through brain-to-brain interactions. These interactions would allow warfighters direct communication with unmanned and autonomous systems, as well as with other humans, to optimise command and control systems and operations", an executive summary reads.
The report says the human-robot fusion would be driven by the civilian healthcare market and would also be used by civilians, but notes that the use of this technology in the military may be opposed by the public. The group says the Army should work to reverse the negative cultural narrative of enhancement technologies. “It’s no secret that science fiction’s depiction of cyborg technologies revolves around dystopian futures. Transparency in how the military adopts this technology will help to alleviate concerns, while capitalising on benefits”, the study group wrote.
At the same, the report notes that the Pentagon should begin investing in security and legal frameworks to better prepare for the emerging technologies and should closely study the potential impact of human-machine fusion on people.