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Directed energy weapons that use wave beams to cause pain, and electrical brain stimulation that boosts a soldier's combat ability - it may sound like science fiction warfare, but experts say advances in neuroscience mean it's on the horizon.
Rapid progress in the ability to map brain activity and manipulate its responses with stimulants could change the face of warfare, a panel of experts said on Tuesday.
The experts, looking at the scope for neuroscience in future military conflict, said researchers on the cutting edge of medical science should remember that their work could have other, more harmful uses.
"We know neuroscience research has the potential to deliver great social benefit - researchers come closer every day to finding effective treatments for diseases and disorders such as Parkinson's, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy and addiction," said Rod Flower, a professor of biochemical pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London, who led the panel.
"However, understanding of the brain and human behavior, coupled with developments in drug delivery, also highlight ways of degrading human performance that could possibly be used in new weapons."
I wonder what the laws are about testing this stuff?
"The Nuremberg code originated because of some of humanity’s darkest deeds. .... these principles — though now expanded several times in the Declarations of Helsinki (1964 and 1975, with further revisions in 1983 and 1989) and the Belmont Report (1979) — were created to protect people from inhumane treatment carried out in the name of scientific research. If these principles are fully adhered to, people should be protected from experiments without scientific merit and without full understanding and consent."