The “super warrior” in science fiction movies may be getting closer and closer to us.
According to a report recently released by the French Military Ethics Commission, the French army has been allowed to develop “super warriors”, including the use of drugs, prosthetic limbs and implanted chips to strengthen the brain and physical strength of soldiers. French Defense Minister Paly said, “We need to face the reality and be prepared no matter what will happen in the future.”
This is a rare one in recent years to confirm the existence of the “Super Soldier” project with high-level disclosures of the national army.
So, what are the relevant technical means disclosed by France? How do they improve the combat effectiveness of soldiers? How should we view the application of such technologies? In response to these problems, the reporter of Science and Technology Daily interviewed relevant experts.
The use of drugs in the army is not new.
France’s first means of creating a “super warrior” is to use drugs.
Similar “super warriors” often appear in comics and science fiction movies, and their representative character is Captain America. Captain America was originally a thin recruit. After injecting special drugs, his strength, speed, endurance and other physical abilities were far beyond ordinary people, and he became a “super soldier”.
“Human use of drugs to improve human function has long been there. The most well-known thing is that athletes use doping to improve their performance. Of course, this method is not glorious and has long been explicitly prohibited.
On the battlefield, when soldiers need to fight for death, it is understandable to use drugs to improve fatigue tolerance, reaction speed and cognitive ability. For example, in the Afghan battlefield, in order to improve their night duty ability, the U.S. military uses caffeine-containing gum to soldiers to improve human function and cognitive ability. Lan Shunzheng, a military researcher, said.
As for France, the use of drugs by the army is nothing new.
Jia Zhenzhen said that during the Gulf War, the French army also took their soldiers a drug called modafinil. Soldiers who take this medicine are energetic, sleepy or tired on the battlefield, and can fight for three consecutive days without rest.
Brain control and exoskeletal technology will be widely used.
In the science fiction film Edge of Tomorrow, the military individual exoskeletal system completes a shocking reversal of the plot with the protagonist, while in the science fiction film Avatar, humans use brain-computer interface technology to control the body of clones to perform tasks.
In the future, the French army may use similar technologies to modify and train soldiers.
Foreign media revealed that artificial limbs and chip implants are another means for France to build “super warriors” to strengthen the soldiers’ brains and physical strength.
“Larly, this may mean that brain-controlled weapons and technical equipment such as individual exoskeletons will be used in the French army.” Lan Shunzheng said.
“Brain control technology, popularly speaking, is a dual-channel brain-machine interface technology, which attempts to establish a channel for information transmission between the internal human brain and the external machinery.
The brain-computer interface is a direct connection pathway created between the human or animal brain (or the culture of the brain cell) and the external device, allowing one-way or two-way transmission of information between the brain and the external device.” Jia Zhenzhen said, “The fundamental characteristic of brain control technology is to control behavior with ideas, that is, by connecting the brain to the outside world by physical means to achieve the brain’s control of external things.”
Not long ago, Neuralink, a brain-computer interface company owned by technology tycoon Musk, held a press conference to demonstrate the practical application process of Neurolink brain-computer interface technology through three piglets and real-time neuron activities demonstrations on the spot.
The world’s military powers have long carried out research on the application of brain control technology in the military field.
Jia Zhenzhen said that the U.S. Department of Defense has invested heavily in supporting neuroscience projects in the Biotechnology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a large part of which are the application of brain-computer interface technology.
DARPA developed the “Revolutionary Prosthetic Limb” and “Hand Body Touch Interface” project, aiming to create prosthetic limbs like natural arms, and also develop brain-controlled prosthetic limb systems.
During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the total weight of equipment (including weapons, electronic equipment and self-defense armor) required for most of the tasks of American soldiers exceeded 57 kilograms. Therefore, the development and use of individual exoskeletons that can make individual soldiers faster and more powerful have gradually become the consensus of major military powers.
For example, the “Hercules” exoskeletal system invested in the development of the French General Administration of Arms and Equipment weighs 17 kilograms and can lift 60 kilograms of heavy objects.” Hercules does not use any sensors to record human motion.
The operation of the system is completely based on control algorithms, so that it can understand the user’s intentions and cooperate with them to complete various actions.
Lan Shunzheng pointed out, “From the current technological trend, brain control technology and exoskeletal technology will indeed be greatly developed. These two technologies can greatly improve the strength and agility of the warrior, improve battlefield adaptability and combat ability.
But even from a military perspective, these two technologies have broad civilian prospects. For example, people with disabilities can use brain control technology and exoskeletal technology to improve their quality of life, etc., which are very attractive.
Building a “super warrior” should be subject to supervision.
“In fact, it has long been used for soldiers to use drugs or supplement other equipment to create ‘super soldiers’, but there have been few public reports before, and more of them appear with sporadic and trivial information.” Lan Shunzheng said, “This time, it is relatively rare for France to make similar research public on behalf of the French Military Ethics Committee.
It can be said that the information released by the top of the French military tore up a layer of “fig leaf” in this field, allowing this method to appear, which may lead some countries to accelerate the promotion of such research in the future. This move may increase the intensity of future wars and make the battlefield more cruel.
In response to these technical means, the French Military Commission said that the country should maintain its advantage in the military field to meet a series of strategic challenges, but must comply with military norms and norms of humanity, so it is prohibited to influence the military’ judgment of soldiers on the use of force or humanitarian perception in any means, such as through implantation of devices or Change its free will and make it unable to return to society.
However, Jia Zhenzhen pointed out that “whether it is to eliminate the fear of war or to reduce the fatigue of soldiers, the principle of drugs used for these purposes is relatively similar, that is, by stimulating the central nervous system of the brain, specific nerve reactions are reduced, while other nerve excitability is increased, so as to achieve the desired purpose.
However, at present, most of these drugs have obvious and serious side effects, and their effects are very short-lived and cannot fundamentally change human function. Historically, the concentrated outbreak of battlefield syndrome that has caused pain to countless families has also been associated with the abuse of psychotropic drugs in war.
Lan Shunzheng also pointed out, “The uncontrolled use of this kind of technology can easily cause out of control. It is a ‘double-edged sword’. We need to use its good side and curb its evil side.
Therefore, it is necessary to restrain the abuse of such technologies with normative legislation, the establishment of institutions and ethical constraints, and the development of such technologies must be tracked and monitored in a timely manner.