February 16, 2006

Hacking the enemy

Not one to miss out on the biotech revolution, the US military is considering some radical ideas as it prepares for combat preparedness for the period 2020-2050. In particular, the military is hoping to expand on its idea of 'nonlethal' force and integrate it with the cognitive and behavioural sciences.

Chief scientists William L. Baker, Eugene J. Bednarz and Robert L. Sierakowski of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate and Munitions Directorate are working on a concept known as "Controlled Personnel Effects." With CPE capability it will be possible to target individuals with nonlethal force and to make selected adversaires think or act according to the military's needs. It is thought that CPE will give rise to the potential to physically influence or incapacitate personnel.

An example of this technology is "Active Denial" in which a nonlethal counterpersonnel millimeter wave system can create the sensation of burning skin to repel an individual or group of people without harm. Also, by studying and modeling the human brain and nervous system, the military hopes to acquire the ability to mentally influence or confuse personnel. Through sensory deception, it may be possible to create synthetic images, or holograms, to confuse an individual's visual sense or confuse his senses of sound, taste, touch, or smell. Essentially, advanced technologies will enable the future soldier to remotely create physical sensations for the enemy, such as pressure or temperature changes.

More invasively, through cognitive engineering, scientists will eventually develop a better understanding of how an individual's cognitive processes affect his decision making processes, namely pattern recognition, visual conditioning, and difference detection. Once understood, military scientists could use these cognitive models to predict a person's behaviour under a variety of conditions with the potential to affect the enemy and his goals using a wide range of personnel effects.

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1 comment:

Phil Goetz said...

The microwave "area-denial" systems aren't cognitive. They "create the sensation of burning skin" by heating up your skin.