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The Military Technology

Bioethicist Jonathan Moreno Talks Jacked-In Soldiers And Military Neuroscience 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the weapon-of-the-future dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "Who's driving a lot of neuro research? The military. Much of it is health related, like figuring out how to make prosthetics work more seamlessly and helping diagnose brain injuries. But the military's involvement highlights the basic ethical quandary of neurological development: When our brains pretty much define who we are, what happens when you start adding tech in there? And what happens when you take it away? Jonathan Moreno is quite possibly the top bioethicist in the country, and along with Michael Tennison, recently penned a fascinating essay on the role and ethics of using neuroscience for national security. He also recently updated his book Mind Wars, a seminal look into the military's work with the brain. In this interview he discusses brain implants, drones, and what will happen when military tech hits the civilian world."
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Bioethicist Jonathan Moreno Talks Jacked-In Soldiers And Military Neuroscience

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @09:32AM (#40099019)

    Caffeine affects our brain in a non-trivial way. If we're hungry, we behave differently. So food affects our brain in a non-trivial way. How is ingesting caffeine and food different than adding hardware to our brain?

  • by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @09:34AM (#40099035)
    What sort of selection process is used to determine who is the 'top' bioethicist? Anyone at all can consider the ethical implications of brain implants.
  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @10:03AM (#40099265)

    How is ingesting caffeine and food different than adding hardware to our brain?

    It isn't.
    And that's why most countries have institutes where doctors determine what's safe and what's not and also what's legal and what's not. Some drugs alter your mind so much that we think we'd better make them illegal. And some things are innocent enough, or even considered a stimulant, so we allow them.

    I would hope that "hardware for our brain" would be treated with the same medical methods as any medicine, food product or beverage.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @10:21AM (#40099429)

    I got this brain implant from the government and I feel fine. In fact, I feel better than fine. When I watch sitcoms, sports, and reality shows--it's bliss.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @12:09PM (#40100477)

    It's also funny that we spend the first 2-3 decades of life being trained and educated in a deliberate attempt to modify our the point that any parent who wants their child to exist in a "natural" human state would be sent to prison for child abuse. We pride ourselves on being "civilized", and redefine "human" to mean denying our biological nature. Society is founded on that principle, and while as a people we try to modify ourselves to become more intelligent and compassionate, education-turned-indoctrination can also make us into monsters, and even the most liberal societies train us to accept certain injustices.

    So when they say technology can change who we are, I suggest that we have been excelling at changing who we are for thousands of years. Whether a particular technique is "good" or "bad" in a moral sense depends on whether it stirs or stunts our capacity for empathy, and whether it encourages us to grow and diversify or enforces a rigid set of behavior.

What good is a ticket to the good life, if you can't find the entrance?