This week’s Nature has a fascinating and freely-accessible review (pdf) of Jonathan Moreno’s new book Mind Wars (ISBN 1932594167) that tackles both the deployment of military neuroscience research on the battlefield and the ethical issues raised by these new technologies.
Welcome to the world of Mind Wars and the military application of neuroscience, which is the subject of this fascinating and sometimes unsettling book. As the author Jonathan Moreno reveals, the US military has a longstanding interest in brain research and, as scientific understanding continues to advance, so does its appeal to the national security establishment.
The Department of Defense conducts much of its research in secret, and some of it would probably fare poorly in open peer review – for example, the military continued to fund psychic research until 1995 – but with an annual research and development budget of at least $68 billion, it can presumably afford to leave no stone unturned.
Partly because its activities are more visible, Moreno focuses especially on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which supports unclassified academic research with potential military applications. DARPA has a distinguished record of supporting innovation, including the Internet, so its involvement in brain research must be taken seriously.
Nature has put some relevant links online from the review, so you can follow up the topic if you’re interested.
There’s also more about the book, including some (very) brief excerpts and a Q&A with the author on the Dana website.
It’s also worth noting that Moreno will be discussing the topic and his new book on November 28th in New York, at an event hosted by The New York Academy of Sciences.