News just in from the “scary shit” department is that the American army are looking into developing a number of technologies that wouldn’t look out of place in Star Trek. Holograms, virtual people, and controlling peoples memories are all on the agenda.
I’ll start with the most tame idea: They’re working on technology that “simulates” people – they want to develop “phantom” soldiers, presumably to trick the enemy into believing the opposing army are much, much bigger. This requires two things: fake personalities – they’re on about creating virtual people and testing them out to check that they’re real (a la the turing test). To test this, they plan to use MMOs like World of Warcraft. Really.
Crazily, the other thing this needs for practical use on the battlefield is the hologram technology. They claim this is possible by bouncing photons off of other photons or something (any physicists reading care to comment?).
They’re also looking at regrowing body-parts using “nano-scaffolding” (good job Obama is into stem-cell research) and psychic communication between soldiers by using electrical impulses in the brain.
By far the scariest technology though is apparently a project that will allow soldiers to “forget” bad memories to help them get over the trauma. Or to look at it more cynically: helping soldiers suppress memories and emotions allowing them to forget how horrible it is to shoot a man or see their friends get killed, turning them into emotionless, robotic killing machines.
I doubt any of these are anywhere near being actually used in battle – not least because at the moment its pretty much a struggle to give soldiers things like, y’know, shielding and the correct equipment.