The Pentagon is researching the ability to use the human mind to control machines and weapons, according to a Defense One report.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is reportedly working on "neural interface" for humans to connect to military systems with their mind – "technology would let people control, feel, and interact with a remote machine as though it were a part of their own body."
"From the first time a human carved a rock into a blade or formed a spear, humans have been creating tools to help them interact with the world around them," DARPA's Biological Technologies Office program manager Al Emondi told Defense One. "The tools we use have grown more sophisticated over time . . . but these still require some form of physical control interface — touch, motion or voice. What neural interfaces promise is a richer, more powerful, and more natural experience in which our brains effectively become the tool."
Seeds of the technology have already been put to work with DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics program where disabled veterans can control a prosthetic limb "using an electrode implanted in their brain," according to the report.
The neural interface being worked on will not require surgical implants, though, per Defense One.
The plans include a non-invasive interface outside the body and an ingestible chemical that would help outside sensors read brain activity.
Critics fear this technology might "might fuel conspiracy theories about government mind-reading and mind-control."
"We don't think about N3 technology as simply a new way to fly a plane or to talk to a computer, but as tool for actual human-machine teaming," Emondi told Defense One. "As we approach a future in which increasingly autonomous systems will play a greater role in military operations, neural interface technology can help warfighters build a more intuitive interaction with these systems."
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