US military bosses reveal radical plan to hack soldier’s brains to give them superhuman capabilities
- DARPA funding eight separate research efforts looking into ‘synaptic plasticity’
- The natural brain process would be activated through electrical stimulation
- It’s hoped that, if proven safe, it could be used to accelerate soldiers’ learning
The US military is looking into ways to hack the human brain to enhance soldiers’ cognitive abilities.
DARPA revealed it is funding eight separate research efforts to determine if electrical stimulation can safely be used to ‘enhance learning and accelerate training skills.’
Ultimately, doing this could allow a person to quickly master complex skills that would normally take thousands of hours of practice.
The US military is looking into ways to hack the human brain to enhance soldiers’ cognitive abilities. DARPA revealed it is funding eight separate research efforts to determine if electrical stimulation can safely be used to ‘enhance learning and accelerate training skills’
The program, called the Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program, aims to use the body’s peripheral nervous system to accelerate the learning process.
This would be done by activating a process known as ‘synaptic plasticity’ – a key process in the brain involved in learning – with electrical stimulation.
The program was first announced last year, and now, the research branch is funding eight efforts at seven institutions to understand how this could be carried out.
‘DARPA is approaching the study of synaptic plasticity from multiple angles to determine whether there are safe and responsible ways to enhance learning and accelerate training for skills relevant to national security missions,’ said Doug Weber, TNT Program Manager.
Researchers are working to identify the physiological mechanisms that could make the brain more ‘adaptive’ during the learning process when stimulated.
This could, for example, be used to speed up the process of learning foreign languages.
A team at the Texas Biomedical Device Center at the University of Texas at Dallas are studying this effect, after being awarded a contract worth up to $5.8 million from DARPA.
‘Military personnel are required to utilize a wide variety of complex perceptual, motor, and cognitive skills under challenging conditions,’ said Dr Robert Rennaker, Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Bioengineering, director of the TxBDC and chairman of the Department of Bioengineering.
‘Mastery of these difficult skills, including fluency in foreign language, typically requires thousands of hours of practice.’