Cyborg soldiers could bring new battlefield capabilities by 2050 — Part 1

Military Technology

MYSTERY WIRE — A fascinating study — some might call it scary — explores the battlefield possibilities of cyborg soldiers in the year 2050.

Themes familiar in movies for years aren’t quite as dramatic in an Army report titled “Human/Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of the DOD,” but you’ll get the idea. Let your mind drift to “Terminator.” Or the soldiers in “Avatar.” Maybe way back to TV’s “The Six-Million Dollar Man.” Then throw in a human component from the Jason Bourne trilogy.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command looks 30 years ahead and tries to predict how soldiers and technology will meld. The study identifies four areas that would make soldiers better:

  • Eyes: cybernetic or machine eyeballs that could see perfectly, and over a wider range of light, such as infrared.
  • Muscle control/exoskeleton: from precise movement to robotic appendages, with the ability to move reliably in extreme conditions without tiring.
  • Ears: enhanced or replaced hearing ability, allowing low-level audio detection, language translation and sonar-like coordination of remote audio signals.
  • Two-way data transfer in the human brain: abilities to receive and transmit signals to directly interact with battlefield machines and other cyborg soldiers.

Download the 27-page study here:

Research for the study concludes that by 2050, technology will exist to allow the human brain to process incoming data streams, and to issue “commands” in the battlefield. Thus the description, two-way data transfer. In its organic form, it’s telepathy.

Other technology cited in the study, such as artificial eyes and ears, is much closer to reality already.

Major themes in the report point to the problems that must be addressed before any of this could become a reality. One is reversability — a soldier isn’t a soldier forever, and this advanced tech probably shouldn’t be in the civilian world. Second, the politics — the backlash over drones has been problematic, and would likely be worse on the topic of “enhanced soldiers.”


NEXT STORY: Cyborg soldiers pose ethical dilemmas for military — Part 2

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