The secret report entitled “Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human-Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future” of the Department of Defense has been declassified.
The Combat Capabilities Development Command, (CCDC) (formerly the United States Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM)) is a subordinate command of the US Army Futures Command. RDECOM was tasked with “creating, integrating, and delivering technology-enabled solutions” to the US Army.
The secret report was prepared by the DoD Biotechnologies for Health and Human Performance Council responsible for development in the military biotechnology sector. The key points refer to the technological advances that led to the extraordinary evolution of the “cyborg” soldier.
A “cyborg” was first described in a NASA study on the long-term impact of space done by Manfred Clynes and Nathan Cline. A cybernetic organism is an organism that has been optimised by creating interactions between human flesh and machine.
Improvements to imaging, or to sight, have even created a new ocular consciousness, the restoration and muscular control programmed through an optogenetic bodysuit web sensor. It is an auditory improvement for communication and the neural part sees the transfer of bidirectional data directly into the human brain using technological grafts.
In this method, the illumination of natural or synthetic photoreceptor proteins changes their conformation, leading to activation or inhibition of the host cell.
The scientific group has claimed that this neural development will be able to revolutionize future military combat and operations.
In a summary of the report it reads: “This technology is designed to facilitate the ability to read/write between man-machine and man-man through brain-brain interactions”. Such communications would allow soldiers, in a theater of war, to be able to interact directly with unmanned , autonomous technological equipment and also with other human beings. “This will optimize the systems and command and control operations.”
Furthermore, the positive effects and impact on civil society for the next thirty years were assessed.
Although the perception of a strong bio-economy is increasingly evident already seen in the growing demand even in the non-military sector, the concerns and reflections over the benefits have been taken into account they claim, since scientists have set out seven key points to face for the use and metabolization of the new cyborg world.
The Biotechnologies for Health and Human Performance Council worked on this project simultaneously questioning the numerous ethical and moral issues and the points that the Pentagon should seriously consider.
The first focused on the global factors of a new perception of life and on the importance for the military to increase the performance of the human machine. The second involved the factors of interoperability between allied forces during operations and the need to understand the contradictions within NATO on the possible benefits of using cyborgs.
The third point addresses the concerns of the committee on security matters and the need to adapt the legal system to guarantee the ethics and privacy of people. The fourth cites verbatim that the commitment of future military leaders will have to change to reverse the “negative cultural narratives of augmentation technologies”.
That is, transforming what has been considered a science fiction of a dystopian technological future into reality, canceling the impact of mistrust and fear that the world could have from the use of cyborgs in everyday life.
The fifth point urges the Pentagon to use War Games to analyze the results of asymmetric biotechnologies on military personnel and evaluate their strategies, operations and tactics.
The sixth point is an analysis of Beijing’s commercial capacity and the benefits that its economy has brought to the Defense department. By virtue of this, the need to work to facilitate insertion of cyborgs into civil society was illustrated, so that in the case of a US economic fallout, even in this sector, it is not inferior to the Chinese one.
The last point deals with the problem of security for the long-term use of technology and the impact on civil society. The scientific committee does not hide the perplexities and difficulties that must be undertaken of a careful and continuous monitoring policy on the application of this new cyborg generation.
Finally, it has been explained, however, that the implications will be more than positive on the quality of life as the restoration of any function caused by pathologies or traumas will be perfectly possible without any problem.
In reality, although far away, invisible and frightening, the cyborg world has been here for some time, in fact the culture of bio-hacking is already practiced by different categories of people, even from the academic sector, eager to experiment with new possibilities and frontiers within their own bodies.
This phenomenon is framed by many as Biology DIY [Do It Yourself], a sort of social movement based on biotechnology or do-it-yourself biology, in which individuals hack their own bodies and study the technological effects of their chips.
Different categories such as Grinder linked to cybernetic alteration, Nutrigenomics dedicated to nutrition for the control of human biology, the quantified-self focused on biomarkers and self-experimentation, are already part of civil society and progress, although not yet regulated, and these fields have been evolving at an impressive speed.
Famous experiments in the past, saw the use of the RFID chip, radiofrequency identification, in the arm of a professor and engineer Coventry University.
Other NFC (Near Field Communication) and Bio-Therm magnetic chips have been used and tested in Utah for temperature monitoring, apparently with positive results.
The cyborg world is truly present and the work on the “guarantees and protections of life and human dignity in the international context” will be important, precisely to avoid the technological control of artificial intelligence on man.