Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military

Researcher Warns That Military Must Prepare For "Mutant" Future 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the laser-eyes-forward dept.
Researcher Patrick Lin says that with the development of a wide range of technologies including: drugs, special nutrition, gene therapy and robotic implants, the military needs to plan for a future where soldiers have "mutant powers.” From the article: "If we don’t, we could find ourselves in big trouble down the road. Among the nightmare scenarios: Botched enhancements could harm the very soldiers they’re meant to help and spawn pricey lawsuits. Tweaked troopers could run afoul of international law, potentially sparking a diplomatic crisis every time the U.S. deploys troops overseas. And poorly planned enhancements could provoke disproportionate responses by America’s enemies, resulting in a potentially devastating arms race (PDF)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Researcher Warns That Military Must Prepare For "Mutant" Future

Comments Filter:
  • Mutant Powers? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why is it we can't get mutants out of our own labs but our enemies are going to be able to do this just like that?

    I want my mutants!

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by kelemvor4 (1980226)

      Why is it we can't get mutants out of our own labs but our enemies are going to be able to do this just like that?

      I want my mutants!

      Rules and Regulations. That's why.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Mutants already exist, they don't care about people , They have a collective name:
        Lawmakers., They work in Washington DC
        Be careful , because if you think you found an honest lawmaker, you might yourself be a mutant

    • Expendable test subjects.

    • http://www.pdfernhout.net/recognizing-irony-is-a-key-to-transcending-militarism.html [pdfernhout.net]
      "Biological weapons like genetically-engineered plagues are ironic because they are about using advanced life-altering biotechnology to fight over which old-fashioned humans get to occupy the planet. Why not just use advanced biotech to let people pick their skin color, or to create living arkologies and agricultural abundance for everyone everywhere? ... There is a fundamental mismatch between 21st century reality and 20th

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "California Polytechnic State University,
    San Luis Obispo
    College of Liberal Arts
    Philosophy Department
    Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group"

    http://ethics.calpoly.edu/Greenwall_report.pdf [calpoly.edu]

    • by bhcompy (1877290)
      An ethics professor at a polytechnic university discusses the ethics and consequences of supersoldier engineering. What's the problem?
      • That ethics professors don't understand current military ethics, and are therefore not qualified to comment on how military ethics are likely to change in ligh of new technical developments.

        in this case if you simply replace the scare-words like "mutant," and "bio-weapon" with older military technologies like "machine-gun," or "metal monoplane," that changed everything pretty much every sentence he wrote still works. This means that pretty much everything he wrote is going over very old ground in military t

    • by jerquiaga (859470)

      Not sure I understand. Isn't this what philosophers are supposed to do?

      • You mean pretend that something completely normal, totally routine, and not-at-all-different is the end of the world? I suppose that is actually slightly more useful to the human race then arguing about Nietche.

        Most of the stuff they're worried about is common to all forms of technology. The V-22 Osprey must killed 30 Marines before they got the computer flight controls working right. People started using drugs to enhance their military performance roughly 30 seconds after they discovered coffee. Arms races

  • by fred911 (83970)

    Not the Ninja Turtles!

  • "Tweaked troopers could run afoul of international law..."

    This happens fairly often already. Are they saying it would be much worse? Also, what is the scenario for having these mutants here in our own country?

  • by mspohr (589790)

    Obligatory:
    What could possibly go wrong?

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Especially since some of the research seems to be focusing [independent.co.uk] on how to reduce soldiers' critical thinking and ethical scruples. That's been going on for a while in other ways: after realizing that a lot of soldiers purposely fired above their enemies' heads due to an intrinsic distaste for shooting people, a lot of military training has been focused on overcoming the (otherwise generally desirable) "not a psycho who wants to put a bullet in another human" reflex. Could get a lot more problematic if it's actua

      • No modern military wants a soldier with poor critical thinking skills and no ethical scruples. What they want is a soldier who applies all his critical thinking skills to the mission at hand, in the context of the larger campaign, and instinctively follows military ethics. Guys who are unethical and don't think things through tend to go to the nearest village and massacre everyone the second after a successful Taliban Ambush, which is not acceptable.

        The TMS tech you're talking about is intended to enhance c

  • For a more in depth look into the imaginary future of mutant cyborg warfare might I suggest the Germline series [barnesandnoble.com] by T. C. McCarthy.

  • ...note that in industrial civilization, riches accrue to those who best stimulate human ingenuity and productivity through peaceful trade and development, not to those who can enslave the most serfs, and that the entire basis of military arms races is basically a "caveman" mentality, obsolete since before WW1, really: https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/01/09-6 [commondreams.org]

    The justification for arms races was, throughout the nuclear arms race, that we must beat the other team to the capability; except that *taking

    • by Fesh (112953)

      Been tried before... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Naval_Treaty [wikipedia.org]

      Only takes one player breaking the rules to overturn the whole thing.

      • by rbrander (73222)

        Sure, except we haven't un-invented nuclear weapons, which remain kind of a trump over things like teenage mutant ninja soldiers since few mutations prevent you from being vaporized if sufficient joules are radiated into your mutant molecules.

        So my treaty would be not so much ironclad (little naval joke there) as uranium-clad, involving capital cities becoming smoking holes, etc.

        Already kind of here, really, The journalist I cited, Gwynne Dyer, as also passed along the joke told by military planners world

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      riches accrue to those who best stimulate human ingenuity and productivity through peaceful trade and development

      As nations, yes-ish. As individuals, no.

      For example, if I have a great idea for a new technology, and somebody takes my idea and patents it before I do, then they get the riches and I don't, even though I had the ingenuity. Similarly, if I started out broke, and didn't have the funds to go through the process of patenting my idea, then I'm going to have to:
      - Sell it to somebody who does (and then they get most of the profit and rather than me)
      - Go to work for somebody who does (and then it's a work for hire

      • by rbrander (73222)

        Agree on all counts. I was very definitely speaking of nations. However, even here, you'll note that you are more *likely* to get rich inventing a new mousetrap these days, than by leading your neighbours to declare war on the suburb a mile over and attempting to take their houses and women. "Conan vs. SWAT" never became a successful comic.

    • Well your first statement is correct, that nations that are based more on trade and production are the ones that are the richest. But at the same time your caveman neighbor can conquer you if you don't spend money on an army. Sure it won't make him rich for long, but it will also destroy you. So as long as not every nation in the work is 'sane', arms races will kind of necessary for survival.

      Wasn't the justification for the US/USSR arms race the desire to have the other guy bankrupt himself through overspen

      • by Jeng (926980)

        Bankrupting the enemy was not the strategy, it was having better weapons and more of them, but that did accidentally bankrupt the enemy.

        So the motivation was to have really good weapons and enough of them that we could threaten the USSR enough that they would be too scared to do anything offensively.

        We just happened to bankrupt them when they tried to keep pace, oops, there went that cash cow for the defense industries.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      ...note that in industrial civilization, riches accrue to those who best stimulate human ingenuity and productivity through peaceful trade and development, not to those who can enslave the most serfs, and that the entire basis of military arms races is basically a "caveman" mentality, obsolete since before WW1, really: https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/01/09-6 [commondreams.org]

      And yet both the richest country in the world and the one most likely to depose it are both built on enslaving serfs for the benefit of the few

    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      The main problem is, the guy on the other side might not be as 'calm and rational' as you are. In fact, he might jump at the chance to let you disarm so he can whack you out that much easier.

      Never appeal to somebody's better nature. They just might not have one...
  • Can't wait for Mutants vs. Zombies!
  • Somehow, I doubt this is the problem.

    War is not won by Rambos. Even special-ops types aren't built like Arnold. War is won by people who make the right decisions under pressure and have the skills and endurance to carry them out.

    • War is not won by Rambos. Even special-ops types aren't built like Arnold. War is won by people who make the right decisions under pressure and have the skills and endurance to carry them out.

      Right. So what happens if you have a man who is calm and is capable of very high-quality tactical decisions while under fire, but who doesn't have the endurance or strength of the people you want him to lead? Wouldn't it be nice if you could just give him that endurance and strength, rather than try to find a way to move that tactical ability into a bigger body?

      • by vlm (69642)

        Wouldn't it be nice if you could just give him that endurance and strength

        Bio is risky but we have centuries long tradition of war profiteering by manufacturing all manner of APCs, tanks, traditional aircraft, attack choppers, etc.

        Its not the Spartan 300 anymore.

        "hmm the C.O. isn't strong enough to fire an arrow beyond 100 yards... could use a magic potion to make him a SuperArcher... nah F it issue him a M16 and be done with it"

        "hmm the C.O. is getting tired out on long pack marches.... we could bioengineer the 6 million dollar man's legs on to him... nah F it issue him a HMMVW

      • by rbrander (73222)

        I'm sure Ghengis Khan had to do a lot of wrestling and so forth as a kid, but Julius Caesar, a patrician from birth, probably never had to touch one of the lowlife brutes he commanded, much less beat one up with his fists to establish his leadership.

  • Too late. Soulless biological automatons have already overrun much of Europe.
  • ... that foreign countries should be prepared for the US Military to have a mutant future.

    Its not like the rest of the world considers their militaries so ridiculously important to invest in constant cutting edge future tech innovation all the time in all aspects of war. The US may do this, but the rest of the world will still be pretty happy with their 1990s tanks and 2000s satellite technology.

    queue the slashdotter with one article pointing at one small research project in one country claiming 'not *nece

    • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Monday December 31, 2012 @03:11PM (#42434803)
      The US military has been shaped by paranoia about a preemptive strike ever since Pearl Harbor. They don't want to be caught a decade behind and short on forces ever again, especially just to salve the conscience of some whiny hippies.
      • by vlm (69642)

        The US military has been shaped by paranoia about a preemptive strike ever since Pearl Harbor. They don't want to be caught a decade behind and short on forces ever again

        Aka sept 11th 2001

        Enough money has been spent that we can't ack or recognize a failure without really bad things happening to the messenger. But it seems to be true, however much of a thoughtcrime it may be to consider it. You could ague the same idea WRT the recent unpleasantness with the dead ambassador.

        • It's not really a good analogy because the steps taken by the DoD following Pearl were substantive to addressing what actually happened. The US military is exceedingly better prepared to handle a preemptive strike than before Pearl, but the National Security infrastructure is an empty gesture. It doesn't substantively prepare for future attacks, but it does act as a power grab disenfranchising the simple citizenry.
      • by c0lo (1497653)

        The US military has been shaped by paranoia about a preemptive strike ever since Pearl Harbor. They don't want to be caught a decade behind and short on forces ever again, especially just to salve the conscience of some whiny hippies.

        Oh, really? Only since and because Pearl Harbour you say? Well, how about this whiny hippy [wikipedia.org]?

        I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

        • Don't forget this pinko pussy [wikipedia.org].
          • The difference being Eisenhower knew what he was doing. His restraint with regard to DoD policies/procurement etc. were based on a lifetime of deep knowledge and experience. This is quite a different thing from somebody who has an ideological position against the military who has no idea what it needs and what it doesn't, but they're sure they need less of it, you know, because... reasons.

            I would love it if somebody with Eisenhower's abilities were in charge again and could intelligently make the armed fo
        • One man's perspective, tinged with his own political bias. Never mind that there were others who served right alongside him who drew different conclusions from the same experiences.

          Besides which, you're grossly missing the point. We're not talking about what any given person thinks about US foreign policy, but about why the US military has kept higher force numbers and more modern equipment. The military from the end of the Civil War to World War 2 was pretty low key in both equipment and numbers (with a
  • by Haxagon (2454432) on Monday December 31, 2012 @02:56PM (#42434673)

    Calling this "mutant powers" is trivializing this entire issue. It makes light of the fact that millions of people are using stimulants and nootropics that lie in a legal gray area pertaining to employment and schoolwork. Calling this "mutant powers" is the most inappropriate thing you could do.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      So you're not a true believer?
    • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

      It's very appropriate as it's the new standard of Government Publication Policy to refer to everything in as dramatically characterized a manner as possible so that civil servants and political types can understand it. Using references to popular media such as comic books, TV and Movies is highly recommended to insure the greatest comprehension and retention on information comprehension by 6 year olds, Members Congress and the Military.

      Consider the following proposed report title: "Future Risks of the Rise

  • We need to create mutant solders to protect us from the mutant solders who mutiny.

  • I think they coved this in a few syfy channel movies

  • The X Files coved stuff like this

  • Unfortunately, what they've been reading is a little too much X-Men.

  • We should make a legislative framework that will outline the boundaries of such a program, sort of like the Geneva Conventions. Then countries like the US would never violate those rules.

    Seriously. What's the point in even talking about it? the US is just going to do whatever it feels like.

  • the military has what amounts to big-ass guns and bombs of all types, sufficient to take down mutant meat marching. next problem, please...

    • Great for invading, but modern war isn't really about invasion. You can't just carpet-bomb cities any more. There's a lot more peacekeeping and urban combat now. High-tech toys can be very useful in those situations, and are still in their infancy. We don't even have a bullet-proof vest that can be worn unobtrusively.

  • It is soon the 1st January, not the 1st April. Except in comic book there is no such a thing as a mutant power. At all. Not even physically possible from the law of thermodynamic or newton's law.

    What COULD happen is that somebody graft some biomechanic prothese giving an advantage like better muscle, drug implant or even eye sight enhanced and protected against flashbang, but that's nothing which could not be done by the "1st country" in term of military science. In fact I content a full mechanical device
    • last sentence should read "In fact I contend that it is probably the other country of the world which should worry about what the USA is brewing in their drone labs." IOW A military of drone controlled by a few hundred maybe a few thousand guy the other world away.
    • If you're doing surgical mods, I rather like the idea of fitting hydraulic valves on major blood vessels.

      Solder get their leg blown off? Femoral artery constricts, circulation cuts off. Enough to keep them alive until the fight is over and medic arrives.

  • Khan!
  • So many jokes, so little time...

    • Can a soldier with 4 arms be more devastating on the modern battlefield? How about 6?
    • Perhaps the submitter meant to suggest that arms will replace legs as a means of racing across the battlefield?
  • I think it potentially more likely that future wars include remotely-controlled (and possibly semi-autonomous) terminator style robots, driven by soldiers for whom the interface looks very much like a current Battlefield video game. But you know, mutant superpowers would be cool too. I'm working on my first one now, but it's not going so well. It doesn't even feel a little hot in here, does it?
  • Unleash the giant tentacle monster!

  • (1) someone has been watching too many episodes of Beauty and the Beast. Or, (2) there's some really screwy secret experimentation going on. But if (2), why would we even hear about possible protocols to contain? (You'd think they would be secret too.)

  • Mr. President, we must not allow... a mutant soldier gap!
  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @12:06AM (#42438797)
    Prepare for sci-fi grade stuff the ennemy may prepare? This remind me of The Men Who Stare at Goats [wikipedia.org].
  • There might be some small attempts to do this, but it will be so vilified that no developed nation would be able to do it to any great degree. Automated free roving killing machines will be FAR easier in the near future and politically acceptable as well, as you are not dehumanizing/exploiting your own citizens to achieve your goals. Plus I don't care how outlandish your mutant enhancements are short of Wolverine regenerative powers, MACHINES, BULLETS and BOMBS will splatter you just like any other flesh
  • scenarios:

    Botched enhancements ... spawn pricey lawsuits;

    Didn't I hear something about "Gulf War Syndrome" recently, or wasn't it the families of ex-soldiers who died while sueing about being used as crash radiation dummies in atom-bomb tests?

    "Check" on that one.

    troopers could run afoul of international law, potentially sparking a diplomatic crisis every time the U.S. deploys troops overseas.;

    Haven't I been awake and aware since the late 1970s? Yes. so there's a "check" on that one too.

    (But - doesn't

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

Working...