Quest For The Ultimate Human Killing Machine

Arnold Schwarzenegger T-800Guilt, tiredness, stress, shock – can specialized drugs help to mute the qualities that make soldiers human, asks Michael Hanlon in the Independent (with thanks to disinfo reader Freeman for the tip):

…The era of The Terminator, the perfect robotic killing machine, is decades away; to date, all efforts to create a humanoid robot that can climb the stairs, let alone fight the Taliban, have been risible. But scientists are reporting breakthroughs with the next-best thing – the creation of human terminators, who feel less pain, less terror and less fatigue than “non-enhanced” soldiers and whose very bodies may be augmented by powerful machines.

Efforts to understand the brain of the soldier and put this knowledge to good use have been going on for some time. Professor Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist at Pennsylvania State University, studies the way neuroscience is being co-opted by the military. “Right now, this is the fastest-growing area of science,” he says.

The Pentagon is currently spending $400m a year researching ways to “enhance” the human fighter. The defence giant Lockheed recently unveiled its “Hulc” (Human Universal Load Carrier), a science fiction-like, battery-powered exoskeleton that allows a human to lift 100kg weights and carry them at a fast run of 16kph (10mph). The videos of the Hulc in action are truly impressive. Superman strength is one thing, but soldiers still need to sleep. In Afghanistan the average soldier in combat gets only four hours’ rest a day and sleep deprivation is the single biggest factor in reducing fighting performance. Not only are tired soldiers less physically able to fight and run, they make more mistakes with the complex weapons systems at their disposal – mistakes that can prove deadly to themselves and their comrades.

Using chemistry to attack fatigue is, of course, nothing new. Two centuries ago, Prussian soldiers used cocaine to remain alert and Inca warriors used coca leaves to stay alert long before that. Since then, nicotine, amphetamines, caffeine and a new class of stimulants including the drug Modafinil have all been used successfully, to the extent that American soldiers can now operate normally even after 48 hours without sleep. Now the chemists are trying to tweak the molecular structure of this drug so that it will switch off the desire for sleep for even longer…

[continues in the Independent]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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45 Comments on "Quest For The Ultimate Human Killing Machine"

  1. Enhanced Human Killers: when automatic weapons and hydrogen bombs JUST AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

  2. Enhanced Human Killers: when automatic weapons and hydrogen bombs JUST AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

  3. warmonger | Nov 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    You don’t nuke the resources you want to take. It would make extracting them to costly.

  4. Hadrian999 | Nov 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

    the problem with messing around the mind of soldiers is that it makes them less effective, you don’t want a robot. being to adapt to a changing battlefield and the ability seize the initiative and the ability to recognize and exploit emerging weaknesses in the enemy could be lost, obedient but mindless soldiers are of very little actual use.

  5. Hadrian999 | Nov 17, 2011 at 10:37 am |

    the problem with messing around the mind of soldiers is that it makes them less effective, you don’t want a robot. being to adapt to a changing battlefield and the ability seize the initiative and the ability to recognize and exploit emerging weaknesses in the enemy could be lost, obedient but mindless soldiers are of very little actual use.

    • Hillbilly | Nov 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm |

      Passion, emotion, pain, fear, rage… these qualities are what the heroes of old are made of. Sociopaths are decent killers but they only do for themselves. 

      • When offered large financial gains psychopaths will kill whatever is presented to them, and smile while they work.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 17, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

      The defintion of a military soldier is obedient and mindless.

      • Hadrian999 | Nov 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

        you are a fool if you believe that, to do the job properly you need to be able to think and adapt, people do it for a variety of reasons but robotic obedience makes for terrible combat soldiers

        • Anarchy Pony | Nov 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

          This isn’t so much about making combat soldiers so much as compassionless occupiers that have no qualms about killing and oppressing more or less helpless people.

        • Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 18, 2011 at 3:10 am |

          People may join the military for a variety of reasons. I know some people think they are joining up for a noble cause (ie: protecting people). But the truth is they are doing the opposite, their hired killers for corporations & imperial power. I know its a sad fact because many soldiers put their lives on the line for what they think is noble. Tragically they give up their lives in vain. But maybe its not in vain if future generations can learn from their mistakes.

          • Hadrian999 | Nov 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm |

            if you think man will every outgrow killing each other I think you will be disappointed

  6. Kellicox1 | Nov 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

    yeah, i think what they’re looking for is the ultimate antidepressant.  please look at link between psychopathism, psuedopsychopathism and antidepressants.

  7. Kellicox1 | Nov 17, 2011 at 10:51 am |

    yeah, i think what they’re looking for is the ultimate antidepressant.  please look at link between psychopathism, psuedopsychopathism and antidepressants.

    • Calypso_1 | Nov 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

      ‘pseudopsychopathy’ has never been a well defined clinical term and is not currently used in standard diagnoses – so i’m not sure how you are applying it in this context.  I would be interested to look at information regarding this and antidepressants if you could point me in the right direction. 

  8. Perhaps the Pentagon should spend $400m a year on creating a peaceful human.

  9. Perhaps the Pentagon should spend $400m a year on creating a peaceful human.

  10. Ronniedobbs | Nov 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    Nice idea, but there’s no money in it.

  11. I already feel less pain and less terror than normal humans, and if i exercised more, less fatigue too. Save the cybernetic implants, these are all achievable through hard work (but we want shortkuts). The biggest hurdle they really want to jump which they probably have trouble with is removing all the virtues like compassion, honor, humility, etc to remove all remorse from killing innocent people

  12. I already feel less pain and less terror than normal humans, and if i exercised more, less fatigue too. Save the cybernetic implants, these are all achievable through hard work (but we want shortkuts). The biggest hurdle they really want to jump which they probably have trouble with is removing all the virtues like compassion, honor, humility, etc to remove all remorse from killing innocent people

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 17, 2011 at 1:18 pm |

      What if you feel remorse for killing guilty people? Does that mean you’ve completely lost the plot?

  13. Hillbilly | Nov 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm |

    Passion, emotion, pain, fear, rage… these qualities are what the heroes of old are made of. Sociopaths are decent killers but they only do for themselves. 

  14. It’ll probably make it easier for their enemies to want to kill them. Hey, not only are they imperial invaders come to force themselves on your culture and your resources, they are also feeling-less emotionless zombies. 
    Would you rather put a bullet in the head of 19 year old Private 1st Class Jimmy Thompson from grand rapids, with his single mother, two younger siblings and beautiful fiance, or would you rather put a bullet in the head of soldier 65798-123, drug addled murderer who killed your sister with no more feeling than stepping on a cockroach?.

  15. Anarchy Pony | Nov 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    It’ll probably make it easier for their enemies to want to kill them. Hey, not only are they imperial invaders come to force themselves on your culture and your resources, they are also feeling-less emotionless zombies. 
    Would you rather put a bullet in the head of 19 year old Private 1st Class Jimmy Thompson from grand rapids, with his single mother, two younger siblings and beautiful fiance, or would you rather put a bullet in the head of soldier 65798-123, drug addled murderer who killed your sister with no more feeling than stepping on a cockroach?.

  16. Depends on exactly what resources your after.

  17. Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    The defintion of a military soldier is obedient and mindless.

  18. Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    What if you feel remorse for killing guilty people? Does that mean you’ve completely lost the plot?

  19. EyeoftheAxis | Nov 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |

    Give them all ecstasy and let them hug it out.

  20. There’s a plot?

  21. Hadrian999 | Nov 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm |

    you are a fool if you believe that, to do the job properly you need to be able to think and adapt, people do it for a variety of reasons but robotic obedience makes for terrible combat soldiers

  22. Anonymous | Nov 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm |

    ‘pseudopsychopathy’ has never been a well defined clinical term and is not currently used in standard diagnoses – so i’m not sure how you are applying it in this context.  I would be interested to look at information regarding this and antidepressants if you could point me in the right direction. 

  23. This isn’t so much about making combat soldiers so much as compassionless occupiers that have no qualms about killing and oppressing more or less helpless people.

  24. When offered large financial gains psychopaths will kill whatever is presented to them, and smile while they work.

  25. Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 18, 2011 at 7:10 am |

    People may join the military for a variety of reasons. I know some people think they are joining up for a noble cause (ie: protecting people). But the truth is they are doing the opposite, their hired killers for corporations & imperial power. I know its a sad fact because many soldiers put their lives on the line for what they think is noble. Tragically they give up their lives in vain. But maybe its not in vain if future generations can learn from their mistakes.

  26. Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 18, 2011 at 7:17 am |

    Probably not. There’s quite a few stories though, I guess we just have choose which one to be a part of.

  27. Indeed 🙂

  28. Indeed 🙂

  29. Hadrian999 | Nov 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm |

    if you think man will every outgrow killing each other I think you will be disappointed

Comments are closed.