December 31, 2012
Stated in the National Intelligence Council (NIC) report entitled, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” the advancements in “neuro-enhancements could provide superior memory recall or speed of thought. Brain-machine interfaces could provide ‘superhuman’ abilities, enhancing strength and speed, as well as providing functions not previously available.”
Biologically enhanced soldiers could display “mutant powers” that could give the US Armed Forces an advantage. Referred to as biological modifications, or biomods, researchers into microbiology, physics and working to protect national security are collaborating with the Scitor Corporation to amplify the evolution of biomods.
Scitor is a private corporation that specializes in aerospace defense, technology and engineering for US government agencies such as the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Air Force. They are owned by the equity firm Leonard Green & Partners (LGP).
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began using science to biologically modify troops under a program called Metabolic Dominance in 2002. The purpose of the MD program was “to develop novel strategies that exploit and control the mechanisms of energy production, metabolism, and utilization during short periods of deployment requiring unprecedented levels of physical demand.”
By eliminating empathy, the DoD hopes to “enhance” a soldier’s ability to “kill without care or remorse, shows no fear, can fight battle after battle without fatigue and generally behave more like a machine than a man.”
The NIC explains that even though “human augmentation” is inevitable the public will need time to accept cognitive-enhancing pharmaceuticals used in the military. Yet in the event that society learns to take advantage of these technologies, the next logical step becomes how to proceed.
Scientists are researching the construction of soldiers that feel no pain, terror and do not suffer from fatigue as tests on the wiring of the human brain are furthered by Jonathan Moreno, professor of bioethics at Pennsylvania State University. Moreno is working with the DoD in understanding neuroscience. The Pentagon allocated $400 million to this research.
Further study could be passed onto the general public in order to maximize profits as well as enhance the drug’s effectiveness. According to Joel Garreau, professor at Arizona University, DARPA is learning how to genetically modify human fat into pure energy by rewiring the metabolic switch which would create soldiers that require less food. By using gene therapy and combining enhancements to alter the color of the human eye is a blending of mutations that have no basis in the natural world.
Roger Pitman, professor of psychiatry at Harvard University is experimenting with propranolol which is a beta blocker that is believed to erase “terrifying memories”, soldiers are subjected to more research while serving to alleviate the psychological effects of war.
The issue becomes which memories does the US government want to cover up when erasing soldier’s mind? Would this experiment endeavor to create veterans who return without the ability to feel guilt?
Modafinil, a.k.a. Provigil, is a pharmaceutical approved by the Food and Drug Administration for sleep-deprivation and renewed energy. The drug has become a favorite for college students and truck drivers. The US Military began experimenting with Provigil, calling it a “super drug” because soldiers given the drug were able to push normal limitations with immediate results.
Jonathan Moreno of the University of Pennsylvania, authored a report on Modafinil called “Juicing the Brain: Research to Limit Mental Fatigue Among Soldiers May Foster Controversial Ways to Enhance Any Person’s Brain.”
Moreno explains that the military is searching for ways to turn the human brain into a finely tuned instrument of warfare by eliminating a soldier’s need for food, sleep, friendship and turn the human body into a self-healing machine.
The use of Dexedrine to keep pilots awake in the Air Force during long missions has raised safety concerns because of its addictive properties. Alternatives have been amphetamines such as Provigil which was first associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease to stimulate the brain with arousal signals and increase serotonin levels at the brain stem.
Using neurostimulation has interested the Air Force Office of Scientific Research working with Cephalon to devise research compiled in a study sponsored by The Royal Society.
DARPA is also in the works for developing soldiers that will:
• Eat grass for survival
• Resist stress in any condition
• Communicate telepathically
• Climb walls like lizards
By identifying human traits as weak links in terms of warfare, DARPA seeks to change the game by utilizing emotions and bio-chemicals to enhance the abilities of soldiers and deemphasize the weaknesses.
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