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The Army is not alone. The Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and their special operations forces are also funding research to collect biophysical data from soldiers, sailors, Marines, and pilots.
The goal is to improve troops’ performance by understanding what’s happening inside their bodies, down to how their experiences affect them on a genetic level.
It’s not exactly genetically engineering soldiers into superhero Captain Americas; the U.S. military insists they have no intention of using biometric data science for anything like the genetic engineering of superior traits. But it’s close. The military is after the next best thing.
Army Research Lab researchers already monitor individual subjects from six months to two years. Brooks wants to expand that to other military training environments, such as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and then to more than a dozen universities.
He hopes the data will reveal how people of varied size, weight, height, health, level of alertness, etc., differ in terms of the signals they send out — hence the name “human variability.” That, in turn, will help researchers gather much more precise information on how different people interact with their environment.
The ultimate goal is sensors that can tell the Pentagon how each human soldier performs, or could perform, to their best ability, from battlefield to homefront.
There are privacy ramifications to collecting so much information. A simple camera can gather enough biometric data on an individual to understand how small changes in heart rate can be a sign of stress.
For a fighter pilot, an analyst, or a soldier, this might help warn of decreased cognitive ability. But among the general population, stress can also be a signal of deception, depending on the context in which that stress expresses itself, such as an interview at a checkpoint.
Today’s military-funded biophysical research shows that it’s possible to detect that stress response from 100 meters away, and perhaps even at longer distances.
In theory, if you could create a lens that could capture infrared data at sufficient resolution (currently, only a theoretical possibility), you could measure brain tissue oxygenation from low-earth orbit. You could see stress from space.
originally posted by: NowanKenubi
a reply to: pfishy
Dang. I looked a bit what are amphetamines, I can't believe I never did, and it said "amphetamine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert."
That's kind of scary knowing they can take some before going into a jet... Do you know if there is a negative incidence on missions or pilots, in the long run with using amphetamines?