Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense / Edition 1

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Overview

In his fascinating new book, Jonathan D. Moreno investigates the deeply intertwined worlds of cutting-edge brain science, U.S. defense agencies, and a volatile geopolitical landscape where a nation's weaponry must go far beyond bombs and men. The first-ever exploration of the connections between national security and brain research, Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense reveals how many questions crowd this gray intersection of science and government and urges us to begin to answer them.

From neuropharmacology to neural imaging to brain-machine interface devices that relay images and sounds between human brains and machines, Moreno shows how national security entities seek to harness the human nervous system in a multitude of ways as a potent weapon against the enemy soldier. Moreno charts such projects as monkeys moving robotic arms with their minds, technology to read the brain’s thought patterns at a distance, the development of "anti-sleep" drugs to enhance soldiers’ battle performance and others to dampen their emotional reactions to the violence, and advances that could open the door to "neuroweapons"—virus-transported molecules to addle the brain.

"As new kinds of weapons are added to the arsenal already at the disposal of fallible human leaders," Moreno writes, "we need to find new ways to address the problem"—of the ethical military application of so powerful and intimate a science. This book is the first step in confronting the quandaries inherent in this partnership of government and neuroscience, serves as a compelling wake-up call for scientists and citizens, and suggests that, with imagination, we might meet the needs of both security and civil liberty.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Imagine a future conflict in which one side can scan from a distance the brains of soldiers on the other side and learn what they may be planning or whether they are confident or fearful. In a crisply written book, University of Virginia ethicist Moreno notes that military contractors have been researching this possibility, as well as the use of electrodes embedded in soldiers' and pilots' brains to enhance their fighting ability. Moreno (Is There an Ethicist in the House?) details the Pentagon's interest in such matters, including studies of paranormal phenomena like ESP, going back several decades. Readers learn that techniques like hypersonic sound and targeted energetic pulses to disable soldiers are close to being used in the field, and even have everyday applications that make "targeted advertising" an understatement. Despite the book's title, Moreno doesn't limit his discussion to brain-related research; he explains the military's investigation of how to enhance soldiers' endurance and reaction time in combat as well as various nonlethal disabling technologies. The ethical implications are addressed throughout the book, but the author leaves substantive discussion to his praiseworthy last chapter. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Renowned bioethics authority Moreno (director, Ctr. for Biomedical Ethics, Univ. of Virginia; Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans) travels to the nexus of brain science, engineering, and national security to explore the connections between neuroscience research and national defense agencies. He explores breakthroughs in understanding and manipulating the brain from both a medical and a national defense perspective, considering such examples as neuropharmacology, remote neural imaging, human-computer thought-based interfaces, neurologically enhanced soldiers, remote-controlled animals, and nonlethal chemical weapons. Moreno's central theme is that medical and scientific advances can be used for purposes unrelated to the goals of researchers, and he offers a survey of published research, augmented by interviews, to cut through the hype surrounding the highly speculative scientific possibilities being explored by scientists and engineers today. Moreno asks the tough ethical and policy questions that arise from using knowledge about how the human brain functions. While the book is accessibly written, the science behind these neurological discoveries is given minimal attention, which will leave many intrigued readers unsatisfied. Nevertheless, given the topic's provocative nature, this is recommended for all science and bioethics collections. James A. Buczynski, Seneca Coll. of Applied Arts & Technology, Toronto Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932594164
  • Publisher: Dana Press
  • Publication date: 11/17/2007
  • Series: Guides to Major Disciplines Ser.
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 225
  • Sales rank: 541,674
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan D. Moreno is the Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Professor and Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia.  He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, an advisor to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.  He has been a senior staff member for two presidential ethics commissions and is past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.

 

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Table of Contents

Contents

 

Acknowledgments

 

Introduction

 

Chapter 1.  DARPA on Your Mind

Chapter 2.  Of Machines and Men

Chapter 3.  Mind Games

Chapter 4.  How to Think about the Brain

Chapter 5.  Brain Reading

Chapter 6.  Building Better Soldiers

Chapter 7.  Enter the Nonlethals

Chapter 8.  Toward and Ethics of Neurosecurity

 

Sources

 

Index

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