DARPA Working on Implanting Chips in Soldiers’ Brains to “Enhance” Them
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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are working on implanting chips into the brains of soldiers, in a new project that the Department of Defense agency believes will one day serve to enhance the performance of the US army’s recruits, along with helping to repair brain injuries suffered on the battlefield.
The brain-neural interfaces have not yet been implanted into soldiers’ brains, though volunteers undergoing brain surgery have already had test devices implanted in them, with DARPA looking to expand its mission in the future. In an interview with NPR (via Fusion), Annie Jacobsen, author of the book The Pentagon’s Brain, said: “Of the 2.5 million Americans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 of them came home with traumatic brain injury. DARPA initiated a series of programs to help cognitive functioning, to repair some of this damage. And those programs center around putting brain chips inside the tissue of the brain.”
This hasn’t been the first time DARPA has sought to fuse humans with technology. Earlier this month we reported that the agency had successfully built a prosthetic arm for a man that allowed him to “feel,” effectively creating a circuit between the brain and the artificial limb. This brain-neural interface would go one step further than that, with it being implanted inside the brain’s tissue in order to enhance development of any potential repairs needed to be made by soldiers, along with potentially allowing for enhancements that could be weaponized by the US.
Jacobsen pointed out something which DARPA’s Eric Eisenstadt’s had previously made comments alluding to the chip during a technology conference in 2002, with Eisenstadt saying to the crowd: “Imagine a time when the human brain has its own wireless modem so that instead of acting on thoughts, warfighters have thoughts that act.”
While this technology being used to help soldiers who have suffered with brain injury, and therefore it potentially being used to help society as a whole, would obviously be a welcome advancement, DARPA seemingly ignoring the plot of thousands of dystopian sci-fi movies is a little concerning to say the least. According to Fusion, DARPA has stated that the brain-neural interfaces are being developed without the intention of them eventually being used for offense, though that certainly sounds like something that they would say.