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 ")

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

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.

LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!

 

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

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'

SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound. It is cute, though.

RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!

MSG Sphere Las Vegas, ala Star Wars
'The smoky globe, hung in the vault, was shot with colored light...'

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
You know you want to ride in one.

Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Your underground future is calling!

Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.

Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'

Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing

Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.

Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.

Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.

Squid-Like Robots Soon To Be 3D Printable
'It was a chemotactic artificial jellyfish designed to slither...'

Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.

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.