Transhumanism Comes to the Battlefield with Bionic Warriors As Political Tensions Rise

by David Solomonoff

France gets go-ahead to develop bionic soldiers; Research to include implants to boost soldiers’ ‘cerebral capacity’

“Augmented” soldiers closer to reality in France after country’s military ethics committee gave go-ahead for research into new enhancing tech, said “imperative not to inhibit research into the enhanced soldier”.

Potential areas include implants to increase soldiers’ “cerebral capacity”, to make them immune to stress, improve mental resilience in event they were captured; Without enabling research into technologies such as these, French armed forces would be at disadvantage compared to other countries’ militaries.

China has done human testing to create biologically enhanced super soldiers

U.S. intel shows China conducted “human testing” on People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with “biologically enhanced capabilities.”

Last year, two American scholars wrote a paper examining China’s ambitions to apply biotech to battlefield, including signs China interested in using gene-editing technology to enhance human — and perhaps soldier — performance. [Interestingly, paper written in 2019 mentions germ warfare prior to Covid-19 pandemic]

Scholars explored Chinese research using gene-editing tool CRISPR, “Clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” CRISPR used to treat genetic diseases and modify plants, but Western scientists consider unethical to manipulate genes to boost performance of healthy people.

Gene-editing, Moderna, and transhumanism

Transhumanism is a futurist philosophy aimed at transforming the human species by means of biotech, see disease, aging, death as undesirable and unnecessary, aim to transform human beings into post-human species with greater capacities than those of present human beings.

If successful, scientists hope DNA vaccines could be a “transformative” treatment for heart disease, metabolic and genetic diseases, kidney failure and even cancer. Moreover, it could be an effective form of biodefense to protect the population against biological warfare, which is also the mandate for DARPA (U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) and BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority).

Transhumanism and hybrids

Indeed, DARPA is also developing other forms of human enhancement in addition to gene editing.  Already scientists are merging robotics with the human body in brain-to-computer interface (BCI), wherein individuals with physical injuries can regain functions, soldiers become smarter and more powerful through fusing of brain with machines.

Short-Term Superhuman: If We Create Augmented Soldiers, Can We Turn Them Back? How the need to reverse the effects on augmented soldiers might drive the future of military tech.

Latest research at DARPA, Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program, focused on one key part of augmenting soldiers: making sure the effects can be reversed.

Creating seamless interface between human and machine invokes images of brain implants and cutting-edge prosthetics. Webpage of DARPA’s program notes that “most effective, state-of-the-art neural interfaces require surgery to implant electrodes into the brain.” The N3 program, however, falls in line with the current trend in U.S. military research: Figuring out ways temporary, non-invasive ways to enhance soldiers.

Last year, three Canadian defense researchers published a paper that explored the intersection of human enhancement and ethics.

They note that “many soldier resilience human enhancement technologies raised health and safety questions.” These problems would ease when an enhancement is temporary: A soldier can train to use an exoskeleton and a temporary chemical boost wouldn’t carry into civilian life.

Or would they? A soldier could follow an order to take an enhancement that is considered temporary but in reality has unexpected problems. The Canadian researchers wrote:

“Are there unknown side effects or long term effects that could lead to unanticipated health problems during deployment or after discharge?”

Immersive new technologies are often first developed for military and medical applications (as well as gaming and pornography). If current geopolitical tensions intensify (exacerbated by political divisions surrounding U.S. Presidential elections, border disputes involving Russia – also working on military biotech – and China) we may find out whether we can reverse any “unanticipated health problems during deployment” created by Transhumanist hubris sooner than we expect.

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