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]

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  • Nunzio X

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

    • warmonger

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

      • Anarchy Pony

        Depends on exactly what resources your after.

  • Nunzio X

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

  • warmonger

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

  • Hadrian999

    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

      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. 

      • con

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

    • Monkey See Monkey Do

      The defintion of a military soldier is obedient and mindless.

      • Hadrian999

        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

          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

          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

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

  • Hadrian999

    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.

  • Kellicox1

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

    • Calypso_1

      ‘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. 

  • Kellicox1

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

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fantoccini* Gort

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

    • Ronniedobbs

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

    • EyeoftheAxis

      Give them all ecstasy and let them hug it out.

    • Dunzain

      Indeed :)

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fantoccini* Gort

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

  • Ronniedobbs

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

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    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

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

      • Andrew

        There’s a plot?

        • Monkey See Monkey Do

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

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    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

  • Hillbilly

    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. 

  • Wanooski

    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?.

  • Anarchy Pony

    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?.

  • Wanooski

    Depends on exactly what resources your after.

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

    The defintion of a military soldier is obedient and mindless.

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

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

  • EyeoftheAxis

    Give them all ecstasy and let them hug it out.

  • Andrew

    There’s a plot?

  • Hadrian999

    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

  • Anonymous

    ‘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. 

  • Wanooski

    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.

  • con

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

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

    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.

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

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

  • Dunzain

    Indeed :)

  • Dunzain

    Indeed :)

  • Hadrian999

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

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