Brain Interface Weapons War Crime Immunity

Could brain interface-controlled weapons, like systems currently under development by DARPA, provide immunity from prosecution for war crimes? A Cornell University law student has published an analysis that is worth considering.

Consider, for example, the so-called Luke's binoculars (a reference to the device used by Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film). The idea is to use an EEG scan of the soldier's brain to help alert him to potential threats that he picks up subliminally, and to make decisions before he is consciously aware of making a choice.

Recent developments and discoveries in the disparate technology areas of flat-field, wide-angle optics, large pixel-count digital imagers, cognitive visual processing algorithms, neurally-based target detection signatures and ultra-low power analog-digital hybrid signal processing electronics have led DARPA to believe that focused technology development, system design, and system integration efforts may produce revolutionary capabilities for the warfighter.

The final objective of the DARPA CT2WS program is the development of prototype soldier-portable digital imaging threat queuing systems capable of effective detection ranges of 1-10 km against dismounts and vehicles while simultaneously surveying a 120-degree or greater field of view (FOV).

Stephen White, the Cornell law student, makes the following point in his paper.

"In cases where pilots using brain-machine interface weapons are charged with war crimes, however, the issue may prove dispositive. The pilot may have fired his weapon without having made either a conscious or voluntary act before the ensuing deaths occurred.

If neural-interfaced weapons were designed to fire at the time of recognition rather than after the disambiguation process, a process that would likely need to occur for the pilot to differentiate between combatants and protected persons, the pilot firing them presumably would lack criminal accountability for the act implicit in willful killing.

The use of machine interfaces may also lead to problematic results in the context of determining whether or not a volitional act took place."
(Brave New World: Neurowarfare and the Limits of International Humanitarian Law, p. 197

SF fans were aware of these devices a generation ago. These interfaces were explored in the 1982 film Firefox, which featured a plane with "thought-controlled, thought-activated" weapons systems.


(Firefox trailer)

From The Register; thanks to Moira for the story and references.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/31/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Weapon ")

HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.' - HG Wells, 1898

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.' - Poul Anderson, 1966.

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...' - Daniel Suarez, 2012.

Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'- Alfred Bester, 1974.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'

First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’

Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.

Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

Beijing HaiDiLao Robotic Hotpot Restaurant Now Flavored By Artificial Intelligence
'Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.'

Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.