Jones Report

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Understanding of the brain could transform battlefield of the future
· Drugs may be used to incapacitate soldiers
· Scanners could be able to interpret state of mind

Ian Sample / The Guardian | August 14, 2008

Rapid advances in neuroscience could have a dramatic impact on national security and the way in which wars are fought, intelligence officials have been told.

In a report commissioned by the US Defence Intelligence Agency, leading scientists were asked to examine how a greater understanding of the brain over the next 20 years was likely to drive the development of new medicines and technologies.

They found several areas in which progress could have a profound impact, including behaviour-altering drugs, scanners that can interpret a person's state of mind and devices capable of boosting senses such as hearing and vision.

On the battlefield bullets may be replaced with "pharmacological land mines" that release drugs to incapacitate soldiers on contact, while scanners and other electronic devices could be developed to identify suspects from their brain activity and even disrupt their ability to tell lies when questioned, the report says.

"The concept of torture could also be altered by products in this market. It is possible that some day there could be a technique developed to extract information from a prisoner that does not have any lasting side effects," the report states.

The report highlights one electronic technique, called transcranial direct current stimulation, which involves using electrical pulses to interfere with the firing of neurons in the brain, which has been shown to delay a person's ability to tell a lie.

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