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DARPA Commissions Research into Brain Implant

By - Source: Crave | B 15 comments

Mental illness is one of the biggest problems plaguing the U.S. military. Worse than that, more soldiers die from suicide than in any actual armed conflict these days; more than one in nine medical discharges is due to mental illness.

The Department of Defense's research arm, DARPA, has commissioned a $70 million project that will allow them to monitor the brain in real-time. Codenamed SUBNETS (Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies), the tech takes cues from Deep Brain Stimulation, a recent surgical treatment that uses electrical impulses to treat several different mental illnesses.

DARPA program manager Justin Sanchez said, "If SUBNETS is successful, it will advance neuropsychiatry beyond the realm of dialogue-driven observations and resultant trial and error and into the realm of therapy driven by quantifiable characteristics of neural state… SUBNETS is a push toward innovative, informed, and precise neurotechnological therapy to produce major improvements in quality of life for service members and veterans who have very few options with existing therapies. These are patients for whom current medical understanding of diseases like chronic pain or fatigue, unmanageable depression or severe post-traumatic stress disorder can't provide meaningful relief."

SUBNETS will be using data gathered from unrelated mental illnesses and look for patterns, hopefully producing a working prototype inside of a few years.

"We're talking about a whole systems approach to the brain, not a disease-by-disease examination of a single process or a subset of processes," Sanchez said. "SUBNETS is going to be a cross-disciplinary, expansive team effort, and the program will integrate and build upon historical DARPA research investments."

While this is all really interesting in principle, I'm not so sure I want the military knowing what's going on in anyone's head, NSA PRISM and rampant wiretapping being what it is these days.

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  • 1 Hide
    cklaubur , October 29, 2013 1:38 PM
    Am I the only one thinking of Metal Gear Solid 4 after reading this?

  • 1 Hide
    Onus , October 29, 2013 1:54 PM
    I was thinking "Terminal Man" myself.
  • 1 Hide
    Tuishimi , October 29, 2013 1:59 PM
    I was having flash-forwards to Terminator...
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    Axonn , October 29, 2013 2:10 PM
    Or let's mind control soldiers into faithful little drones. 'cause now-a-days sometimes they get independent. And that's baaaaaaaaad.
  • 0 Hide
    FloKid , October 29, 2013 2:40 PM
    I hope you pay over priced for you crimes.
  • 0 Hide
    clonazepam , October 29, 2013 3:53 PM
    Someday men finally understand women and vice versa.
  • 0 Hide
    dgingeri , October 29, 2013 4:27 PM
    Onus, I thought I was the only one left alive who'd read The Terminal Man. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Stevemeister , October 29, 2013 5:24 PM
    The fundamental problem is people were not made to kill each other - doing so will cause problems in all but the most hardened psychopaths. Words from Chris Cornell's James Bond theme "You Know My Name" . . . . . . "If you take a life, do you know what you'll give, Odds are, you won't like what it is"
  • 0 Hide
    blackjackedy , October 29, 2013 7:21 PM
    The fundamental problem is people were not made to kill each other - doing so will cause problems in all but the most hardened psychopaths. Words from Chris Cornell's James Bond theme "You Know My Name" . . . . . . "If you take a life, do you know what you'll give, Odds are, you won't like what it is"

    I wouldn't say we're not meant to kill each other. Normally we don't, but if it comes to a point when people might kill each other, the person who killed lives to reproduce and the one who didn't will not have that chance.

    I realise that's a huge simplification and one example but I don't think it's so clean cut that we're not meant to kill each other.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , October 30, 2013 12:05 AM
    DAPRA wants to convert US soldiers into fearless/remorseless/merciless killing machine.
  • 0 Hide
    alyoshka , October 30, 2013 2:18 AM
    "Mental illness is one of the biggest problems plaguing the U.S. military."
    You're telling us now.... after all the wars, you think we didn't know that???
  • 0 Hide
    AJSB , October 30, 2013 1:51 PM
    As opposite to what was said here, Humans (and Chimpanzees) are the only species made for kill each other (if you don't believe about Chimpanzees, you better watch some documentaries about their extremely aggressive society and their "hunting and war expeditions" ...they even do it in complete silence and in a kind of militar formation like regular Human soldiers).

    As for remorse from human soldiers, the TRUTH is that in the heat of combat, Humans ENJOY to kill other Humans...the guilty feelings come AFTER combat precisely because in our modern society we are not supposed to ENJOY killing other Humans.

  • 0 Hide
    Duckhunt , November 1, 2013 2:16 AM
    Well , what we need is something small enough to monitor all the neurons. That is not possible yet but it will happen. We need 1 Million cores,then we can try to do it. If we get Tera core chips, We will do it. Its parallel computing , I know DARPA knows this. There you have it. We need to get parallel computing into the main stream.
  • 0 Hide
    Draven35 , November 1, 2013 5:39 AM
    If you think humans and chimps are 'the only species made for kill each other' you need to watch what happens when two wolf packs encounter one another.
  • 0 Hide
    AJSB , November 1, 2013 3:38 PM
    I know a lot about wolfs and admire them...but wolfs are completely different.

    Wolfs attack other wolfs usually only when wolfs not belonging to the wolfpack enter in their territory or when a wolfpack is weak and other wolfpack attemps to catch their territory.

    This is very different from Human and Chimp behavior...

    As an example Chimps make expeditions to the territory of other chimps with the sole purpose to kill members of that other group and then they pull back to their own territory.

    The purpose is not conquer territory, is not defend territory from invaders, is simply kill other chimps.

    Also, the way they behave in those expeditions it's very similar to Human military operations , were all of them behave and move in a calm and silent (stealth if you wish) manner, very different from wolfs when they confront other wolfs where the confrontation is more "chaotic" and clearly more "hot headed".

    Wolfs rarely kill wolfs of same's really extremely rare as you know....usually simply showing the teeth or 1-3 bites solve issue w/o major physical consequences.

    Chimps, OTOH, have no problems to kill other Chimps of same group if there is a difference of "opinion" about a subject/issue.

    There is also a clear division inside Chimps groups with "political alliances"/whatever_you want_to_call that degenerate sooner or later in severe confrontations resulting usually in deaths.

    Because of these reasons and a bunch of others too long to explain here , Chimps are at same level than us and we both are clearly different from other species that might be very ferocious by themselves but that don't confront each other inside same groups like us and Chimps.

    I'm not talking about ferocity by itself but about will to kill same group members for reasons that sometimes are futile or the "military expedition" behave outside defending/conquering territory reasoning.

    Not even Lions, Bears, White Sharks, Hyenas, Crocodiles, etc. behave this way.