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US Army To Develop "Thought Helmets"

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the better-than-"thought-pants"-i-guess dept.

The Military 226

Hugh Pickens writes "Time Magazine reports on a $4 million US Army contract to begin developing 'thought helmets' to harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops that the Army hopes will 'lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone.' The Army's initial goal is to capture brain waves with software that translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. 'It'd be radio without a microphone,' says Dr. Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program. 'Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.' The key challenge will be to develop software able to pinpoint speech-related brain waves and pick them up with a 128-sensor array that ultimately will be buried inside a helmet. Scientists deny charges that they're messing with soldiers' minds. 'A lot of people interpret wires coming out of the head as some sort of mind reading,' says Dr. Mike D'Zmura. 'But there's no way you can get there from here.' One potential civilian spin-off: a Bluetooth Helmet so people nearby can't hear you when you talk on your cell phone."

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US Army Chief of Staff To Develop "Thought" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083465)

US Army Chief of Staff To Develop "Thought"

Re:US Army Chief of Staff To Develop "Thought" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084261)

"Thought" is grossly overrated, and has been superseeded by "hope" and "change".

TEMPEST... (5, Funny)

armie (32968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083471)

One problem with this is any electrical activity on the brain detected is then amplified. This makes TEMPEST attacks on the thoughts of the soldier much easier as the attacker already has an amplifier attached to the soldier. Solution? Every US Army soldier needs to wear a tin foil hat!

Re:TEMPEST... (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084277)

If you can simply avoid falling into the vector graphics pit in the first place, the TEMPEST attacks are trivially avoided.

Re:TEMPEST... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084595)

Dystopia alert.

The complete technological dystopia clock now reads at 11:42.

Re:TEMPEST... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084643)

Yeah, but it's an atomic clock. Prenty of time.
Then again, you never know which heartbeat shall be the last, so why fret, unless you're a guitar?

Re:TEMPEST... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084675)

that's why I'm so high strung and everyone is picking on me

Re:TEMPEST... (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084827)

Tinfoil hat on top of his mind-reading army hat?

Prior to the filter? (5, Interesting)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083473)

Wouldn't this take stuff before people have the ability to filter what they say and speak it out loud?

Re:Prior to the filter? (2, Insightful)

gazita123 (589586) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083535)

Yeah, I can just imagine the sort of filter they would need to put on it to prevent fantasy thoughts from being made real (at least to keep the noise down). Swearing alone would take up at least half of the filter.

doubt they are at that level of reading brainwave (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083547)

For "silent" communication I can see morse being communicated that way, but reading words from the brain ? Maybe one can train people to concentrate and clearly form a few specific patterns which can then be recognized afterward and translated to words, but i doubt you could learn and differentiate so many patterns as to have a wordly communication. Furthermore in the midst of fire exchange, I doubt this would be easier to use than a radio.

Re:doubt they are at that level of reading brainwa (4, Interesting)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083689)

For "silent" communication I can see morse being communicated that way, but reading words from the brain ? Maybe one can train people to concentrate and clearly form a few specific patterns which can then be recognized afterward and translated to words, but i doubt you could learn and differentiate so many patterns as to have a wordly communication. Furthermore in the midst of fire exchange, I doubt this would be easier to use than a radio.

I don't think adults can easily learn to use their brains in an entirely new way like this. Maybe if you gave a really young child one of these with some kind of visual feedback for them they could develop a more sophisticated way of communicating with it.

Or better yet, maybe deaf kids could use this to talk amongst themselves. It would have to be started very young though, so the brain could develop and strengthen the areas needed. Actually this is now sounding a bit like the plot from The Midwitch Cuckoos.

Re:doubt they are at that level of reading brainwa (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083813)

I really like the "deaf" idea. We could also try it out on other species; as you suggested, "get em when they're young". We might learn interesting things.
As a battlefield tool, I can't imagine it being of any use to soldiers who haven't used it for years and don't need to think about it. What these military people need for it to work are orphans or clones. Even cheaper, just use robots. Of course, these strategies might be considered inhumane.

Re:Prior to the filter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083613)

No, you can speak silently by talking so soft that your vocal cords don't move, on Slashdot NASA claimed you could detect the impulses that still move toward your vocal cords as you mimic speaking. And as funding almost runs out you can then realize that you could also pick up some off the shelve mind reading gaming tech and communicate in morse code, and present that as a effective first development of your tech.

Anyway what's up with all the USA military might bragging? Feeling a bit insecure now that the corporate FED has forced their bail out onto taxpayers? Anyway from now on we can say stuff like:

In communist USA tin hats control you!

Re:Prior to the filter? (4, Interesting)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083651)

It sounds like they're tapping into the signals that would normally be sent to the muscles (not to the motor nerves themselves, but the last stage prior to them). In a computer analogy, this would be like reading signals between the filesystem driver and the physical device driver - all the "filtering" of what you would actually say has probably already been done. Similarly, this wouldn't catch fleeting thoughts which you would never vocalize. On the other hand, it quite possibly *would* catch thoughts which you would normally say only under your breath or when the mic is off. There's still plenty of potential for embarassment...

Re:Prior to the filter? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083779)

On the other hand, it quite possibly *would* catch thoughts which you would normally say only under your breath or when the mic is off.

Wow, this guy's hot!

Re:Prior to the filter? (3, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083659)

Wouldn't this take stuff before people have the ability to filter what they say and speak it out loud?

Who knows? The military probably doesn't. After all, the military experimented with LSD long before it knew what it was. That's what so great about working with live soldiers. Our soldiers have no rights. They signed them away -- when they signed on the dotted line.

Re:Prior to the filter? (1)

derfy (172944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083705)

Nah, you're probably mist--I fantasize about kissing Patty Nelson!

Re:Prior to the filter? (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084467)

It's really to see who is gay and who is not. Whoever has gay thoughts will have to be let go because remember it's a don't ask don't think it type of military.

Firefox: But they MUST think in Russian (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083479)

But they MUST think in Russian!!!

Seriously, $4 million is pocket change in the military budget.

Let's examine why: (0, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084331)

http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/Reid_keeps_the_swamp_brimming.html [dcexaminer.com]

Reid keeps the swamp brimming
By Examiner Newspapers
Examiner Staff Writer 9/18/08
As the stock market plunged nearly 1,000 points in two days this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was preoccupied with protecting billions of dollars worth of earmarks contained in a separate, unpublished committee report that got a one-sentence reference in a giant $612 billion defense bill. Reid engineered the 61-to-32 vote to limit debate on the bill, thus barring consideration of an amendment offered by Sen. Jim DeMint. The South Carolina Republicanâ(TM)s amendment would have deleted the reference to the committee report so that it would have to be considered separately. By leaving the language in the bill, the lawmakers were able to carry out one of their favorite maneuvers: Incorporating committee reports into omnibus bills so they can give billions of tax dollars to their cronies without recorded votes on specific spending measures. This is the same Harry Reid who with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to "drain the swamp" of Republican corruption if voters would return the Democrats to the majority.

Dennis Miller's remarks on that "ashen pie-hole" are still fresh [youtube.com] , more than a year later.
The US needs a feedback loop whereby other states can be told: "someone else, please" regarding their ballots.

Too much GitS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083483)

Evidently someone has been watching too much Ghost in the Shell...

Re:Too much GitS (1)

Randwulf (997659) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084531)

Or Macross Plus.

I can see it now... (4, Funny)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083485)

(All thought, of course)

"Private Jenkins, Cover me!"
"Sir, Yes, Sir!....man, sarge is so cool and he has such a great ass! He can cov-er-me-an-e-time-he-likes, tee-hee!"
"Uhh...private Jenkins?!"
"Uhh uhh yes, sarge?"
"...I think I love you, too"

And then they'd get shot or something. Anyway, the moral of the story is...well...I forget, what were we thinking about, again?

Re:I can see it now... (1)

popesnarky (1368023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083551)

Hail Eris!

Yeah, it's a great idea. Everyone should know what dying people are thinking.

Snarky

Re:I can see it now... (2, Funny)

ergean (582285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084279)

"Lerrrrroooyyy Jenkins!!!!!!!"

You know, helmets are so uncomfortable... (3, Funny)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083487)

They should really look into other ways to deploy something like this. Maybe something that could be injected into a person. Perhaps nanotechnology?

Re:You know, helmets are so uncomfortable... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083511)

Well, they already wear a rather large and uncomfortable kevlar helmet and I doubt this will replace it in combat. Perhaps this is meant for in-the-rear commo vice while out on patrol. Or perhaps it will be incorporated into the existing helmet and commo systems. This being /., I couldn't be bothered with RTFA and finding out.

Re:You know, helmets are so uncomfortable... (2, Funny)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084055)

...Perhaps this is meant for in-the-rear commo vice while out on patrol...

Jesus! You mean this thing gets rectally inserted? Oh, wait... that would mean it would be near the soldier's brain then... good idea!

Re:You know, helmets are so uncomfortable... (5, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083513)

Yeah and helmets have that nasty habit of preventing battlefield debris from getting lodged in your brain. Somehow I think that's worth being a tad uncomfortable.

Re:You know, helmets are so uncomfortable... (0)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083685)

You're saying they can stop stuff like the tubgirl picture from lodging in my brain? Where can I get one?

But will it run on lemons? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083503)

Every soldier could use a little zest now and then.

Re:But will it run on lemons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083553)

The real question here is...

Will it blend?

For use in new aircraft? (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083519)

Must remember to think in Russian when using the USSR version.

Re:For use in new aircraft? (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083577)

In Soviet Rusia, helmet thinks YOU!

Re:For use in new aircraft? (1)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083669)

Must remember to think in Russian when using the USSR version.

Don't you mean:
"Must remember to think in Russian when using FireFox?"

Sweet (1)

Layth (1090489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083523)

I can't wait until they release the mind-reading API.

change thinking? (5, Insightful)

Luke_22 (1296823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083525)

'Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.'

Am I the only one who's thinking "danger!danger!" here?
talking is one thing, changing the way you think is more like... brainwashing?

Re:change thinking? (2, Insightful)

tulcod (1056476) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083543)

indeed. "thinking in language" is not really true, the language part is only a small part of your brain you can actually think without, even if you "think in language" (as opposed to in images and stuff). and even "thinking in images" is not really true. so the net result is that it's oversimplified by some inscientific people. your brain looks a lot like a PC: you can distinguish certain elements, but none of them work with the exact same type of data

Re:change thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083773)

Thinking in language or images is not really true? Then what are you thinking about? Smell?

Re:change thinking? (1)

IhuntCIA (1099827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083559)

That is not how the military works.

Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will "lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone."

Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will "lead to direct mental control of military subjects by thought alone."

Fixed that.

Re:change thinking? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083585)

Just sing Beatles songs in your head. Worked for Dr. Zarkov.

Re:change thinking? (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083971)

"But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round."

[queue vid of fighter jet going into a spin and burying itself into a hilltop]

Re:change thinking? (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084009)

Oh it's the Army not the Air Force?

"Happiness is a warm gun
(Bang Bang Shoot Shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, momma
(Bang Bang Shoot Shoot)
When I hold you in my arms
(Ooooooooohhh, oh yeah!)
And when I feel my finger on your trigger
I know nobody can do me no harm"

There, fixed it myself.

Re:change thinking? (1)

rufus t firefly (35399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084557)

Just sing Beatles songs in your head. Worked for Dr. Zarkov.

Quick! Check the angular vector of the moon!

Poor Topol.

Re:change thinking? (1)

BotnetZombie (1174935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084221)

Math, meditation and many other mental tasks that require concentration and directed though control all change the way you think while the effort lasts. You see these also as brainwashing?

Re:change thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084293)

Math, meditation and many other mental tasks that require concentration and directed though control all change the way you think while the effort lasts. You see these also as brainwashing?

uh... no.

1-you life does not relay on math.

2-you don't do math exercises for long periods.

3-concentration != 'stripping down thinking methods'
...

btw, math teachers are not as strict as military teachers...

Not the first priority (1, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083539)

I don't see the point of thought helmets for the Army, if the Commander-in-Chief is still incapable of coherent thought.

Coherent thoughts (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084779)

So many people keep saying or implying Bush is stupid.

If he's smart enough to get reelected, how stupid is he? The election was rigged? If it was, so what, anyone in jail for that? No? So how stupid is he?

If he's smart enough that his current party still has a convincing chance of retaining power, that's even better. Seriously, can you say the odds are < 20%?

And this is despite his party doing all sorts of bad things to the country (and other countries).

So who really are the stupid ones?

Funny how so many people keep thinking they're so smart and the president is so dumb, when the president (and gang) has screwed them so badly and is getting away with it.

Maybe they're in denial and it's just a way of comforting themselves - especially since there's a high chance they're in for a third round.

Even if they pull this off... (3, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083549)

... I wonder what the voice would sound like. I mean, the vocal cords and stuff determine what your voice sounds like, so if they read your mind and pipe that through a system it'd probably sound like a robot.

Re:Even if they pull this off... (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083759)

Maybe they could get a few speech synthesisers and the soldiers could choose their voice. I doubt that it would be hard to custom-make a voice for every troop, when you're dealing with reading thoughts..

Oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083583)

I thought military intelligence was an oxymoron.

Re:Oxymoron (4, Insightful)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083725)

Nobody was trying to call it military wisdom or anything. War is one of the best funded "industries" around the world, and it's organizers are dedicated strategists. There's nothing unintelligent about them, regardless of your opinions on whether or not they're misguided.

Re:Oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083757)

Let me break down the joke.

"Military intelligence" is commonly considered an oxymoron, or at least in my society.

Without thought, there is no intelligence. (Although I've taken the reverse of that, however illogical.)

So, without intelligence, there is no thought.

US Army to Develop "Thought Helmets" for soldiers who lack "thought".

Re:Oxymoron (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083769)

It's commonly considered an oxymoron as an oft-repeated joke, but it isn't really accurate, it's rhetoric.

Pretty simple, really. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083649)

This seems pretty straight forward. If you can use a feedback mechanism, you can learn different mental exercises that stimulate different parts of the brain, and thus generate repeatable signals that can be picked up. Then it's a matter of training and sequencing. It's not reading minds though.

It's a bit late now (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083665)

He's not your Commander in Chief much longer, the next one will be capable of thought on his own.

Too cheap? (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083697)

Time Magazine reports on a $4 million US Army contract to begin developing 'thought helmets [..]

We already have technology for picking up silent brain waves, but it still sounds like $4 million is slightly too cheap for this project.

Also, what happens if a soldier panics and goes beyond reason? Wouldn't that create radio interference?

Re:Too cheap? (2, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083739)

I believe that the exact wording was a "contract to begin developing". No helmets, just the groundwork. I guess that could be $4M. As for soldiers panicking, the helmet would probably pick it up, and show a busy sign or something. Come to think of it, showing when a soldier is in a state of panic (or rage) could be more useful then the communication component.

Obligatory "Military Intelligence" Joke (3, Funny)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083783)

Done.

The Army's Public Posture is Way Behind Reality (1, Interesting)

garydchance (1368041) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083797)

Although it is fascinating to see this published by the US Army, it reflects such activity carried out extensively as surveillance which I've experienced as a target for 7.5 years since 02.2001 thanks to former US Marines Colonel Vine and Lt Harry Bird. They are still at it as of this writing. This is just a limited battlefield adaptation when soldiers are wearing their helmets. Such brain waving monitoring, i.e., son of TEMPEST, actually picks up all thoughts and images accurately and will translate the word thoughts into audible language. I suspect that images are so translated as well since I've gotten accurate descriptions of images I think about as well as language. The US Army also has S2K (Sound-to-Skull) where sound is transferred by means of electromagnetic radiation so that the target can hear someone using it. Since I've been subjected to this, I've been able to hear all that they want me to hear and then some which is an enormous amount enabling me to learn all about this neuroscience application. It is mind control with obedience training through abuse and torture carried out for social engineering. It's used as a surveillance weapon to monitor all the human senses and feedback similar neurological impulses for various reasons: pain, muscle movement, sound, images and surreptitious medication to debilitate and incapacitate. If you suspect that your telephone is tapped, doesn't that change your behaviour? Expect this feedback process to be used on the battlefield too as well as against civilians in the manner it is being used experimentally against me continuously for control purposes. What has hit Time magazine is essentially trivial when compared with what is actually being done. Thanks for noting this article, and I hope everyone gets on this to dig into what is really going on. Don't be put off by anyone who tries to deny this as an aspect of mind reading. It is exactly that and the reality of what is being done is far, far worse that does not require a helmet or sensors to pick up the electromagnetic radiation surrounding the brain. Similarly, every electronic device in a computer can be so monitored and controlled which has been done to my computers for a decade. The human brain is just another computer with its electricity generated by chemical reactions. TEMPEST has come a long way in the past five decades.

Re:The Army's Public Posture is Way Behind Reality (2, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084759)

Use a lucid moment to commit suicide and deprive the masters of your services. Better death than slavery.

break the skull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25083815)

It is already possible to move an avatar in 3D only with your "thoughts". The same way locked-in patients can communicate with their environment.

The avatar, for example, is controlled with very simple thoughts like, black cat -> move forward, green tree -> move left....
This will generate characteristic patterns of electrical activation. These are measured outside the SKULL. But, compared to the complex signaling inside the brain, while for example generating speech, this is awfully inaccurate.
Therefore it is, at least for the moment, impossible to have a word for word transmission.
Furthermore the system has to be calibrated on the individual and the characteristic electrical patterns.
Whatever, the soldier will have to train to get used to a set of thoughts, which in turn are translated to commands.
For better transduction, especially bald soldiers are preferable for this job.

As long as there is no application of any current through the electrodes, the persons physiology isn't altered. And so his thinking can't be manipulated.

greetz, kai

We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083843)

Control of complete army units by thought alone... mind reading helmets... using thought directly as a means of communication... I'm surprised this story is not tagged "borg" already. It sounds pretty much like that.

Re:We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083951)

Nah, the commander in chief doesn't have the ability to think anyway.

Backspace? (4, Funny)

saider (177166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083845)

Thought : "Roger, Air Force One. Approach terminal Whisky-one"

Transmit (to Roger) : "Terminate Air Force with Whiskey"

Protection (2, Insightful)

NewsLeech (1217678) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083849)

I already have a thought helmet. I made it out of tin foil.

They had these in Alpha Centauri (1)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083873)

And they looked like this [youtube.com] .

Hell of a way to screw up a war (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083917)

Unless there's one time pad data in the helmet, the war might come to a tragic halt for the USA when the enemy fills up our heads with porn.

This wired up army is a dumb idea. It's better to give troops the flexibility to matters into their own hands on the battlefield. If you want to have a better US Army, maybe instead of blowing billions on trying to turn platoons into borg, maybe pay sergeants more and jack up their retention rate. Sergeants are the backbone of any army and always will be more, more so than any communications gizmo.

Re:Hell of a way to screw up a war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084627)

What are you rambling about? Obviously, it would just be an option to communicate silently, as to remain undetected by the enemy.

Am i wrong to feel a bit disgusted? (5, Insightful)

Denihil (1208200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083925)

Ugh. I pay taxes every year in the US. They haven't fixed a big pothole outside my house on the road in years, and yet every year we allocate more and more money for military spending. It's a old argument, i know, i know. But honestly now.....i have just all the more incentive to cheat on my taxes.

Re:Am i wrong to feel a bit disgusted? (1)

BotnetZombie (1174935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084249)

I suppose you were also disgusted when the internet was born?

Re:Am i wrong to feel a bit disgusted? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084263)

It would be pretty fucked up if fixing the pothole yourself wasn't tax deductable.

Re:Am i wrong to feel a bit disgusted? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084549)

....yyyyes, because the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is in charge of fixing that pothole, and is diverting the money to the military instead...

You do understand the difference between local and federal government, right? Because I had a pothole on the road near my house, took all of 2 days for it to get filled. But I suppose my local government isn't incompetent...

Web Development Be Damned. (3, Insightful)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25083985)

Put all objections and concerns aside for a second.

Honestly, isn't stuff like this why we all went into computer science and engineering in the first place? Crazy sci-fi ideas that have little to no practical value in the short (and often long) term.

Don't stop chasing the dream!

Thoughts about thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084031)

So what happens when one thinks about thoughts? I detect serious recursion problems.

But the US army thinks of everything, don't they? That is why they use their brilliance as their main weapon against everyone who doesn't see things the same way.

Does anyone trust these guys? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084035)

Dr. Elmar Schmeisser and Dr. Mike D'Zmura?!?
Didn't they learn from Ford Prefect?

The Men Who Stare at Goats (1)

Orlando (12257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084047)

I urge you to read this book for an account of the lengths army will go to in researching stuff like this.

Dear aunt, (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084051)

let's set so double the killer select all.

Female Soilders (1)

Mr_Blank (172031) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084057)

      If DARPA gets this technology then it will be used keep women out of combat.

      A means to read women's minds is beyond the possibility of any science!

How soon will it be ready? (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084067)

When can I apply to fly the new Veritech fighter?

Think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084141)

of the children!

Did anyone else think of the Firefox film? (1)

LuxMaker (996734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084161)

Firefox (film) [wikipedia.org]

But you have to think in Russian for it to work (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084663)

But you have to think in Russian for it to work the Thought systems in Atlantis work better.

impersonate the commander? (1, Insightful)

pixel fairy (898) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084269)

so what frequency do i use to control the soldiers, listen in on them, or jam thier signals?

hope their crypto is good.

Re:impersonate the commander? (1)

Swervin (836962) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084455)

so what frequency do i use to control the soldiers, listen in on them, or jam thier signals?

hope their crypto is good.

How did that get modded insightful? Are you able to do this with any of the current communications? Because aside from the read side of it, I bet the transmit side is going to be pretty similar to what they use now. Effectively, you're arguing against the use of any radios.

Re:impersonate the commander? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084915)

A hard-scifi fiction book I read discussed this in precision.

Greg Egan theorizes that there will be quantum detectors the size of a fly for surveillance purposes. These devices would be able to land on a person and capture their thoughts via neuron detection. To combat this, they have their neuron interconnects scrambled. It takes about 6 weeks for the nanobots to learn how to reconnect.

The devices learn that people have re-arranged brain patterns, so they combat it via intercranial nanobots. In result, a class of people (private investigator) would have knowledge crystallized in their brain while asleep.

Now we're coming up with the sensors. In due time, I think Greg Egan is right. Fiction or not... He has a few published papers too in that physics journal :)

This is indicative of "Military Intelligence" (1)

American Scum (1126015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084387)

What they're missing is that the best soldiers, under tough situations, have a LOT going on in their heads, AND are doing their best to sum up what they want by commands and hand signals.

Training soldiers to think in short thoughts will invariably cross-over into actual thought patterns that will reduce soldiers' creativity, adjustability and preparation for future events.

You can see the effects, now, of how the Army trains vs. how young soldiers actually think when they come out of Basic and AI training - the world is all black and white. From my family's experience, Reserve units are often more flexible in the field and do better at war games because they can think on their feet.

Robotizing our forces' thinking, even unintentionally, is a serious step that they ought to fully consider.

How about some sensor in a glove or on the weapons' grips that would pick up finger pressures and send those out as hand-signals instead? With an on/off momentary switch of some kind, signals would be sent when the soldier wanted them to be, and not when he was merely gripping differently.

Great for Mobile Infantry (1)

missvolare (1333407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084405)

Next, let's hope they R&D guys develop complete reality-recreation through implants and neurochemical modulation. That way when civs get killed, there won't be any pesky PTSD. I'm reading the bio of PKDick again right now, " Divine Invasions," and how much more prescient he seems today than 5 yr.s ago.

Sorry, Army (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084417)

...The name "Firefox" is taken.

rj

What happens when... (4, Funny)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084515)

...one of the soldiers gets a tune stuck in his head?

All the rest of the soldiers will hear his mental rendition of "Never gonna give you up" by Rick Astley.

Not a pretty sight. Do we really want to live in a world where you can be MENTALLY Rick-rolled?

I don't think so.

Re:What happens when... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084865)

Oh Oh Oh Oh Stayin Alive. Stayin Alive.

ALS (2, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084519)

My late father in law (2004) could have used something like this for speech, ALS effectively cut him off completely for the last month or two of his life.

System Error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084561)

Hope they don't have MS develop the software.
'Cause how would you like to be on the battlefield and start hearing random Blue Screams of Death?

There is a difference between... (1)

houbou (1097327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084661)

Quote: 'Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.'

There is a difference between TALKING and THINKING. I suspect some rather HEAVY training will have to be involved, else, it could make for hilarious slips of the "ahem" mind/tongue!

Mouth says: Aye Aye SIR!
But Mind Really Thinks: F**k you and the horse you rode in SIR!

*Yuo fail it.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084839)

bben the best, 486/66 with 8

Obligatory Futurama (1)

nameendingwith (1272536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084849)

Professor: Obviously your thoughts are being transmitted on the same frequency.
Woman: They're on my cellphone, too.
Bender: Madam, I believe you're mistaken.
Bender's Thoughts on Cellphone: Wow, that lady's got a huge ass.
Bender: Those could be anyone's thoughts, fatass.

Torture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25084861)

"A lot of people interpret wires coming out of the head as some sort of mind reading," D'Zmura sighs.

They were not clear about where the wires go. If they ARE putting wires in my head, would this make it significantly easier for my enemies to torture/take advantage of me? Then would I have the option as a soldier to deny brain augmentation?

Imagine in MATRIX if they just zapped you onto some deadzone plain without telephones. Worse than death.

nomenclature (1)

lula-vampiro (1322203) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084867)

The Army dropped the ball on a great opportunity to call this new technology a "thinking cap."

Mind science has been with us for a long time. (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25084907)

It's a nice Saturday, so I thought I'd share some light reading with everybody; I've uploaded in its entirety a copy of Walter Bowart's Operation Mind Control [sharebee.com] for anybody who wants to read it. (It's a text-searchable PDF scan of the book. Thanks to whoever scanned it.)

This book was derived largely from papers acquired through the FOIA, and it is quite clear about how advanced the military was in the field of mind-control and mind-reading. (Skip ahead to chapter 18 after you take a moment to read the author's forward.) It was also first published back in 1978. . .

In 1975 a primitive "mind-reading machine" was tested at the Stanford Research Institute. The machine is a computer which can recognize a limited amount of words by monitoring a person's silent thoughts. This technique relies upon the discovery that brain wave tracings taken with an electroencephalograph (EEG) show distinctive patterns that correlate with individual words--whether the words are spoken aloud or merely subvocalized (thought of).

The computer initially used audio equipment to listen to the words the subject spoke. (At first the vocabulary was limited to "up," "down," "left," and "right.") At the same time the computer heard the words, it monitored the EEG impulses coming from electrodes pasted to the subject's head and responded by turning a camera in the direction indicated. After a few repetitions of the procedure, the computer's hearing was turned off and it responded solely to the EEG "thoughts." It moved a television camera in the directions ordered by the subject's thoughts alone!

I find that most of the technology is actually terribly simple and straight forward. If it works, it gets developed. It really isn't rocket science. The large portion of Bowart's book is on mind-control through drugs, hypnosis and radio/sonics. Again, very simple concepts but very advanced at the same time; the stuff he talks about makes Joss Whedon's new show, Doll House looks simplistic, and that's writing from the 70's.

"They use hypnosis and hypnotic drugs. They also use electronic manipulation of the brain. They use ultrasonics, which will boil your brain. When they use hypnosis, they'll at the same time be using a set of earphones which repeat 'You do not know this or that,' over and over. They turn on the sonics at the same time, and the electrical patterns which give you memory are scrambled. You can't hear the ultrasonics and you can't feel it, unless they leave it on-- then it boils your gray matter."

Unless the assassin had done the same research I had, he could only have known this through firsthand experience. The CIA documents released in 1976 revealed that ultrasonic research was undertaken for a period of more than twenty years. But the documents said that the research had stopped, so I asked him about that.

"Yeah. The research has stopped. They've gone operational. It ain't research any more. They know how to do it," he said.

-FL

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