Expert Says Military “Not Ready” for Cyborg Super-Soldiers

Army researcher reveals ethical, legal concerns of superhuman warriors

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A recent Combat Capabilities Development Command report noted that the US military is mulling the development of superhuman warriors by 2050.

Terminator-style fighters spawned in secret chambers of the Pentagon would reportedly have increased strength, mechanical eyes, neural implants, and various bioengineering upgrades.

Peter Emanuel, an Army researcher and lead expert of a Department of Defence (DoD) study on cyborg soldiers, suggested that ordinary soldiers and civilians are not prepared for cyborg super-warriors, despite sufficient progress in technology and medicine.

“In the next 30 years, you’re going to need to have to deal with these legal and ethical quandaries, and you’re not ready for it […] When you talk about somebody who lost their sight because of a bomb blast or somebody who lost their limb to an IED, it makes sense people would have fewer ethical qualms about giving them something that would replace that functionality,” Emanuel said, cited by Business Insider.

The military researcher suggested that, except for huge technical challenges in the issue in “redesigning human beings”, there is a more important facet – numerous ethical and legal concerns.

“…When you get to essentially giving them super speed, like the $6 Million Man, that’s what we call enhancement. A lot of people start to have questions when we talk about enhancement […] You’re going to have mixed populations of soldiers that are not enhanced and soldiers that are enhanced. What does that mean? Is that going to have an impact to morale and camaraderie? Are [enhanced soldiers] going to be coveted assets?”, Emanuel said, introducing as a possible example a command decision that an enhanced fighter is too valuable to promote or stop deploying while regular soldiers are cheaply replaceable.

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Another aspect of an enhanced hyper-aggressive superhuman is retirement. The expert said that “there are currently no real standards for what it means to be human”, adding that “redesigned” humans with supercomputers in their bodies could overburden legal challenges for society because currently there is only a convergence “of different areas of technology right now: bioengineering and artificial intelligence and nanoscience”.

“Now he wants to go to the Bellagio [Hotel Las Vegas] and go to the crap tables and he’s a supercomputer. Or, now this person is back and they’re stigmatized”, Emanuel said, cited by Business Insider.

Another non-trivial issue that a super warrior could face after retirement is freedom of movement.

“What if the soldier wants to travel and it’s like, wow, you’re a military asset? What if now he wants to go to tour through Russia or some other adversarial area. Now, we’re concerned about somebody getting access to that particular piece of hardware”, Emanuel said.

The military researcher suggested that currently society is “playing catch up” in combining technological opportunities as well as ethical and legal issues, and this is the primary challenge to having a cyborg-like superhuman warrior.

“The reality is that our government and our legal systems and even our societal norms can’t move as fast as the technology can. We’re playing catch up. What is legal? What is ethical? What am I comfortable with and what am I not comfortable with? By the time we get an answer to that and get a global agreement, technology is already in a different place”, Emanuel said.

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