Faced with veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries, the Pentagon is looking into ways to help them recover memories.
Along with another defense project, it’s clear what the military is doing: they’re working to create RoboCop.
Or RoboSoldier, I guess.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on an implantable probe that will help the wounded recover not basic memories–like what their name is or why they allowed the government to put a device in their head–but more complex motor skills, like how to drive a car or operate machinery. I’m sure there’s nothing sinister behind the government looking to implant machinery inside the brains of soldiers to help control their motor skills, while also messing with their memories.
Meanwhile, DARPA is also working on a bodysuit, dubbed a ‘warrior websuit’ designed to make soldiers stronger and have better endurance.
DARPA is simultaneously working on a brain implant to control motor skills and an exosuit making the person stronger and more durable. The only announcement left is that they’re doing the trials in Detroit.
The idea of combining the two technologies is not some fanciful flight of imagination on my part, either.
The odds of parts of both the bodysuit and brain implant projects being used in an application are as high as 70 to 80 percent, said Mike Hopmeier, who worked as a contractor and consultant at Darpa from the mid-1990s to 2005.
That comes from this article, which tells the story of a veteran who is one of the 280,000 soldiers who have suffered brain injuries since 2000. It focuses on how much he would be helped by having a chip in his brain helping him remember stuff. It doesn’t touch at all on the moral or ethical implications that go into creating a RoboCop.
Yes, the idea of the government–and the military in particular–having computers controlling souped up soldiers is the first step toward a terrible dystopian future.
But RoboCop teaches us that humanity prevails. They may create a half-man, half-machine soldier they think they can control, but the one thing they never count on is the human spirit. The person inside the suit, beyond the reach of the brain implant, will overcome the machinery and use his powers for good. So I say bring on this future.
I guess that presupposes that the spirit deep inside the RoboCop is a good one. Let’s really vet these soldiers before we start augmenting their abilities, okay?