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Shoot First, Think Later: Pentagon Wants Weapons That Can Read Soldiers’ Minds

CC0 / / Consciousness
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The Pentagon is developing technology to allow the next generation of soldiers to fire their weapons with their minds.

Researchers at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believe the mind-technology relationship that underpins the use of artificial limbs might help human soldiers fire their guns quicker, Breaking Defense reported Thursday. 

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Indeed, competition may require it. Unmanned aerial vehicles and underwater vessels, not to mention advances in cyber- and electronic warfare, are changing the architecture of the battlespace. Humans will need some help keeping up.

Still, it’s chilling to think about artificial intelligence technologies having the capacity to read our minds. It’s not easy to foresee what might happen if robots used this ability against their human creators.

DoD policy stipulates that in that case of UAVs, for instance, the machine cannot be responsible for killing humans; a remote human controller must press the button to fire Hellfire missiles from MQ-9 Reaper drones.The new technology may be poised to challenge that policy.

The Pentagon’s goal for research and development into Artificial Intelligence is focused on enhancing human interaction with AI, officials said at a conference hosted by Defense One on Wednesday. DARPA’s technology reportedly can detect the inclination to make a decision and remove the time cost between the brain commanding the body to squeeze the trigger and the actual shot being fired.

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A similar brain-computer speech-to-text interface is being studied by 60 engineers at Facebook who want users to be able to type solely by thinking their thoughts. “What if you could type directly from your brain?” Facebook executive Regina Duga asked an audience at a conference in April. 

The Pentagon appears to be ripping a page from the Menlo Park-based company by applying the same concept to pulling the trigger of a gun.

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