April 1, 2021 | Future Human

The Military Is Funding Ethicists to Keep Its Brain Enhancement Experiments in Check

From Future Human:

The military has long been interested in what medical ethicist Jonathan Moreno calls “the whole supersoldier business” — using technology to produce bionically or pharmaceutically superior warfighters. Moreno, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is interested too. Specifically, in one question that keeps gnawing at him: How much can a soldier’s brain bear?

“You can know that with a backpack — 60, 70 pounds — there is a limit,” he tells Future Human. “But what are the kinds of limits to the neurotechnologies that a soldier can carry around?”

Moreno’s discussions on this topic with his former postdoc, Nick Evans, now a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, together with Lowell forensic psychologist Neil Shortland and Michael Gross of the University of Haifa quickly turned into action. In January, the group, under Evans’ leadership, received funding for a new project to investigate the ethics of soldiers’ participation in experiments with “AI-driven performance enhancements,” like brain-computer interfaces that augment a person’s natural abilities.

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