Overwhelming Enemy Cognitive Abilities
According to Wired, the Air Force is trying to find ways to "degrade enemy performance and artificially overwhelm enemy cognitive abilities."
One component of the research effort, called Biobehavioral Performance, is looking for military specimens who are already resistant to physical or mental stressors. By analyzing the biochemical brain pathways of troops who are cool under pressure, the Air Force wants an “external stimulant” that can act as a synthetic version of optimal cognitive stress response and keep airmen operating at top level.
Resisting stress is good, but destroying your enemy with stress is even better. “Conversely, the chemical pathway area could include methods to degrade enemy performance and artificially overwhelm enemy cognitive capabilities,” the Air Force call for proposals notes.
I don't think this counts as a prediction, but there is a interesting reference to this idea in the excellent novel Too Many Magicians by Randall Garrett, which was serialized in Analog in 1966. It is an alternative history novel, in which the Plantagenet kings survived and still ruled a large empire; also, the basic principles of magic were discovered around 1300 and systematically researched.
In the story, a magician and research "scientist" named Sir Lyon Grey was invited to demonstrate a new magical weapon for the King. White magic could not be used to harm others, so the "weapon" was designed to confuse the enemy and render him incapable of performing even the simplest tasks.
It was an odd-looking device. The main bulk was a brass cylinder eight inches in diameter and eighteen inches long. This cylinder was mounted on a short tripod which held it horizontally four inches off the table top. On one end of the cylinder, there were two handles, fitted so that the cylinder could be aimed by gripping with both hands. From the other end there projected a smaller cylinder, some three inches in diameter and ten inches long. The last four inches flared out to a diameter of six inches, making a bell-like muzzle.
Sir Lyon Grey ... smiled and swiveled the gleaming metal device around so that the bell-like muzzle pointed directly at Lord Darcy. "I am ready, Sire," he said...
The task was a simple one. Pick up the cartridge, place it in the chamber, close the lock, aim and fire.
Lord Darcy reached for the pistol with his right hand and for the cartridge with his left. Somehow, he caught the handgun wrong, so that he gripped it upside down, with the muzzle facing him. At the same time, his fingers closed on the cartridge wrong, so that it slipped from his grasp and skittered across the table. He reached out again, grabbed at it, and it slid away. Then, angry, he slammed his palm down on it and finally caught it.
Then there was a loud clatter. In focusing his attention on the cartridge, he had allowed the pistol to slip from the grasp of his other hand...
This device has an even more profound effect on a team of people trying to accomplish a task.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/5/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'...you look like a big steel gorilla...' - Robert Heinlein, 1959.
TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...' - Robert Heinlein, 1959.
Britney Spears And Lynn Minmay - Weapons Of Choice
An attack can take many forms.
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.
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.
SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories