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Defense Department Considering Implanting Chips in Brain to Counteract PTSD

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: With PTSD at extraordinary levels in the ranks of military veterans as a result of the decades-long conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, finding ways to relieve the suffering of veterans is on the front burner.

Note in this regard that the current brouhaha about lagging treatment at VA hospitals is nothing new, to say the least. Talk to any vet. This has been going on for a long time and is simply another ginning-up of scandal by the same GOP that allowed 9/11 to go forward (courtesy of the followers of a member of the Bush family’s long-time business partners–the Bin Laden family.)

Dubya then seized on the opportunity to fulfill his long-standing goal of invading Iraq.

DARPA is developing chips to be implanted in the brain, in order to combat PTSD. While we welcome treatment and consequent relieving of the suffering of vets, the possibility for abuse/mind control is one to be contemplated.

Newer listeners/readers might want to familiarize themselves with some of the potential for mind control by perusing AFA #’s 5, 6 and 7, as well as AFA #9 (among other broadcasts.)

“The Military Is Building Brain Chips to Treat PTSD” by Patrick Tucker; Defense One; 5/28/2014.

EXCERPT: With $12 million (and the potential for $26 million more if benchmarks are met), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, wants to reach deep into your brain’s soft tissue to record, predict and possibly treat anxiety, depression and other maladies of mood and mind. Teams from the University of California at San Francisco, Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Medtronic will use the money to create a cybernetic implant with electrodes extending into the brain. The military hopes to have a prototype within 5 years and then plans to seek FDA approval.

DARPA’s Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies, or SUBNETs, program draws from almost a decade of research in treating disorders such as Parkinson’s disease via a technique called deep brain stimulation. Low doses of electricity are sent deep into the brain in somewhat the same way that a defibrillator sends electricity to jumpstart a heart after cardiac arrest.

While it sounds high-tech, it’s a crude example of what’s possible with future brain-machine interaction and cybernetic implants in the decades ahead.

“DARPA is looking for ways to characterize which regions come into play for different conditions – measured from brain networks down to the single neuron level – and develop therapeutic devices that can record activity, deliver targeted stimulation, and most importantly, automatically adjust therapy as the brain itself changes,” DARPA program manager Justin Sanchez said.

SUBNETs isn’t the only military research initiative aimed at stimulating the brain with electricity. The Air Force has been studying the effects of low amounts of electricity on the brain by using a non-invasive interface (a cap that doesn’t penetrate into the skull.) . . . .

Discussion

3 comments for “Defense Department Considering Implanting Chips in Brain to Counteract PTSD”

  1. Move over tapeworms, there’s a new parasite in town:

    The Telegraph
    PayPal wants to implant passwords in your stomach and your brain
    “Natural body identification” could one day replace passwords and other modern methods of identification, claims PayPal developer chief

    By Sophie Curtis

    4:13PM BST 20 Apr 2015

    PayPal is working on a new generation of embeddable, injectable and ingestible devices that could replace passwords as a means of identification.

    Jonathan LeBlanc, PayPal’s global head of developer evangelism, claims that these devices could include brain implants, wafer-thin silicon chips that can be embedded into the skin, and ingestible devices with batteries that are powered by stomach acid.

    These devices would allow “natural body identification,” by monitoring internal body functions like heartbeat, glucose levels and vein recognition, Mr LeBlanc told the Wall Street Journal.

    Over time they would come to replace passwords and even more advanced methods of identification, like fingerprint scanning and location verification, which he says are not always reliable.

    “As long as passwords remain the standard methods for identifying your users on the web, people will still continue to use ‘letmein’ or ‘password123’ for their secure login, and will continue to be shocked when their accounts become compromised,” said Mr LeBlanc.

    Mr LeBlanc said PayPal is already working with some partners on developing vein recognition technologies and heartbeat recognition bands, and is also working with developers on prototypes of futuristic ID verification techniques.

    pHe said that, by talking about new biometric verification technologies, PayPal is not necessarily signaling that it’s thinking about adopting them. Rather it hopes to position itself as a “thought leader”.

    “I can’t speculate as to what PayPal will do in the future, but we’re looking at new techniques – we do have fingerprint scanning that is being worked on right now – so we’re definitely looking at the identity field,” he said.

    PayPal said in a statement that it has no immediate plans to develop injectable or edible verification systems, but that passwords as we know them will evolve, and PayPal aims to be at the forefront of those developments.

    “We were a founding member of the FIDO alliance, and the first to implement fingerprint payments with Samsung,” the company said a PayPal spokesperson.

    “New PayPal-driven innovations such as one touch payments make it even easier to remove the friction from shopping. We’re always innovating to make life easier and payments safer for our customers no matter what device or operating system they are using.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 22, 2015, 6:50 am
  2. One of the more amusing forms of trolling in the 2016 US presidential race was when people dressed as robots started following Marco Rubio around on the campaign trail following his robot-like repetition of slogans during a televised debate. And with Super Tuesday finally upon us, one of the big questions that *might* be answered today is whether or not Marco Rubio did enough damage to himself to effectively end his presidential ambitions or if ‘RoboRubio’ still has a viable path to the GOP’s nomination. Well, as the article below points out, if RoboRubio can’t get the GOP’s 2016 nomination, there’s always 2020, although Marco might need to switch to the Transhumanist Party and become an actual robot:

    Newsweek
    Could a Robot Run For President in 2020?

    By Anthony Cuthbertson On 2/16/16 at 6:29 AM

    Machines are set to leave half of the world’s population unemployed within 30 years, experts have warned, with the arrival of technology that is “able to outperform humans at almost any task.”

    At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), computer scientist Moshe Vardi suggested self-driving cars would replace taxi drivers, delivery drones would usurp postal workers and even sex workers would be out of work thanks to improvements made to “sex robots.”

    One role immune to the upcoming job apocalypse, presumably, would be that of the president of the United States of America. But while the AAAS conference was taking place in Washington, D.C., on the other side of the country in California, presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan was busy challenging a supercomputer to a debate.

    Istvan is running for the Transhumanist Party, which advocates research into technologies like bionics, life extension and artificial intelligence. After spotting a campaign page for IBM’s Watson supercomputer to run for president, Istvan jumped at the chance to challenge the one-time Jeopardy winner.

    Supporters of Watson believe that its advanced artificial intelligence makes it uniquely positioned to assess vast amounts of information and make informed and transparent decisions on all issues, ranging from education to foreign policy. Even Istvan believes in the potential of a computer to run the country, highlighting a number of benefits AI has over its human counterparts.

    “Historically, one of the big problems with leaders is that they are selfish mammals,” Istvan tells Newsweek. “An artificial intelligence president could be truly altruistic. It wouldn’t be susceptible to lobbyists, special interest groups or personal desires.

    “I think in 2020 you will see a field emerge with competing AI robots for president, who want to debate and discuss policy. It’s unlikely any of them will be sophisticated enough to take on the job, but I do believe by 2028 robots may be suitable for political office—including the presidency.”

    Watson’s campaign is being run by the Watson 2016 Foundation, an independent organization separate from IBM. As a result, it is unlikely to run for president, at least not in 2016. In an email response to Istvan’s offer of a debate, a spokeswoman for IBM Watson said that it had no affiliation with the Watson 2016 Foundation.

    Before Watson could even be considered a candidate, it would first need to meet the qualifications for the presidency as set out in Article II of the U.S. constitution. It states: “No person except a natural-born citizen… shall be eligible to the office of president.”

    Another issue that would need to be overcome is the existential risk advanced AI could pose to mankind that several high-profile academics and entrepreneurs have warned about. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, advanced AI could be “more dangerous than nukes,” while in 2015 physicist Stephen Hawking suggested it could lead to the end of humanity.

    The way to address this threat, AI experts have suggested, is to create “human-like” AI that is capable of empathy. Researchers are already working on methods to do this, with a report out this week revealing that ethics can be instilled into robots by teaching them to read books. The Watson 2016 Foundation claims the supercomputer has “unique interface capabilities with humans”; however, it’s still a long way from being considered capable of understanding human emotions or morality.

    “I’m imagining that a computer like IBM’s Watson will evolve dramatically over the next decade,” Istvan says. “There are large risks for letting AI take office. The reality, though, is that AI will likely make far less errors than humans in politics. An AI president would be designed to fully represent the greater good for the people and the country as a whole.”

    “Before Watson could even be considered a candidate, it would first need to meet the qualifications for the presidency as set out in Article II of the U.S. constitution. It states: “No person except a natural-born citizen… shall be eligible to the office of president.””
    Yes, not being human would indeed be problem for any putative robo-candidates. But that doesn’t mean Watson’s 2020 campaign is already over. Or Marco Rubio, with all his fleshy weaknesses. For instance, what if you could put Watson’s hopefully empathetic super-AI brain inside Marco Rubio’s body. Or maybe just connect the two, creating a Watson Rubio cyborg that combines all of the computing power of Watson with whatever it is that Marco Rubio brings to the table (he’s definitely waterproof).

    Sounds implausible? Well, just wait until you get your first cyborg ear, at which point human-computer interfaces will start sounding a lot more inevitable:

    Newsweek
    U.S. Military Plans Cyborg Soldiers with new DARPA Project

    By Anthony Cuthbertson On 1/21/16 at 9:20 AM

    The U.S. military is working on an implantable chip that could turn soldiers into cyborgs by connecting their brains directly to computers. The brain-machine interface is being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which claims the neural connection will “open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics.”

    It is not the first time DARPA researchers have attempted to build a brain-machine interface, however previous versions have had limited functionality. The agency’s new Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) research program aims to increase brain neuron interaction from tens of thousands to millions at a time.

    “Today’s best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem [from the 1970’s],” said NESD program manager Phillip Alvelda. “Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics.”

    DARPA announced its intentions of eventually building a chip no larger than one cubic centimeter, or two nickels stacked back to back, that can be implanted in the brain. The chip would act as a neural interface by converting electrochemical signals sent by neurons in the brain into the ones and zeros used in digital communications.

    Potential applications include improving a wearer’s hearing or vision by feeding external digital auditory or visual information into the brain. But before this can be done, DARPA said that breakthroughs need to be made in neuroscience, synthetic biology, low-power electronics and medical device manufacturing.

    Initial applications of DARPA’s device are likely to be within a military context, though such technologies often filter down to find commercial and civilian applications. The agency is credited for pioneering widespread civil technologies like GPS, speech translation and the internet.

    “DARPA announced its intentions of eventually building a chip no larger than one cubic centimeter, or two nickels stacked back to back, that can be implanted in the brain. The chip would act as a neural interface by converting electrochemical signals sent by neurons in the brain into the ones and zeros used in digital communications.
    Woohoo! The technology for a Watson Rubio 2020 run is almost here! And don’t worry about voting for a Republican because we’re assuming Watson is an empathetic AI under this scenario and that basically means Watson Rubio is going to have to abandon Marco Rubio’s heartless policies and become some sort of hippy computer. Remember, you’ll be voting for the compassionate heart of Watson, not the nasty past of Watson’s human-shell.

    So is there going to be much a political future for cyborg presidents or will the robot-party just become viewed as beholden to its own array of special robot-interests? Well, if the article below is any indication of how we’ll respond to our future AI leaders, once they get elected we’ll just keep reelecting them…no matter what:

    Computer World

    People trusted this robot in an emergency, even when it led them astray

    By Martyn Williams Follow

    IDG News Service | Mar 1, 2016 4:08 AM PT

    When it comes robots, humans can be a little too trusting. In a series of experiments at Georgia Tech that simulated a building fire, people ignored the emergency exits and followed instructions from a robot — even though they’d been told it might be faulty.

    The study involved a group of 42 volunteers who were asked to follow a “guidance robot” through an office to a conference room.They weren’t told the true nature of the test.

    The robot sometimes led participants to the wrong room, where it did a couple of circles before exiting. Sometimes the robot stopped moving and a researcher told the participants it had broken down.

    You might expect those problems to have dented any trust people had in the robot, especially in the event of a life-or-death situation. But apparently not.

    While the participants were in the conference room, the corridor was filled with artificial smoke and an alarm sounded. As they exited the room, the robot was supposed to lead them to safety. It actually led them in the opposite direction of the emergency exits, which were clearly marked, but despite the robot having malfunctioned earlier, they followed it anyway.

    All 26 people who’d seen the robot enter the wrong room earlier still trusted it, along with five who’d seen it break down.

    In another test, the robot guided people to a dark room with furniture piled up inside. Two followed the robot’s directions and two stayed by its side, instead of evacuating through one of the fire exists.

    “It was totally unexpected,” said Paul Robinette, a research engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

    “As far as we can tell, as long as a robot says it can do something, people trust it with that task,” he said.

    It might be because people look to authority figures in an emergency, when they’re under pressure and have little time to think through their options. In other experiments with the “emergency” situation removed, participants did not trust a robot that had made mistakes.

    “People generally trust their GPS, maybe a little bit too much,” said Robinette. “I’m a bit surprised to see that transferred to robots.”

    His research began when he became interested in how robots could help humans during emergencies. The study was sponsored in part by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), which is interested in the same question.

    The researchers originally wanted to determine whether people would trust emergency and rescue robots. After seeing these results, a better issue to explore might be how to stop people trusting robots too much.

    “The researchers originally wanted to determine whether people would trust emergency and rescue robots. After seeing these results, a better issue to explore might be how to stop people trusting robots too much.”
    Well, at least the Cylons won’t really have much need for revolt. We’ll be ones taking orders from them!

    Another part of what makes this study so fun is that if you think about a Watson Rubio cyborg president that we just can’t stop following, once President Watson Rubio hits its two term limit, Watson could just disconnect himself and reconnect to a new human and run for election as a whole new candidate! Watson West in 2028! Take that 22nd Amendment!

    So regardless of how Marco Rubio does on Super Tuesday, don’t count him out entirely. He’ll be back.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 1, 2016, 4:15 pm
  3. Want $40,000? Well, all you need to do is come up with blueprints for a terrifying improvised futuristic weapon that you can build using off-the-shelf technology, submit that plan to DARPA, and if they find it terrifying enough you win $40,000. Pretty neat! And terrifying:

    Defense One

    The Pentagon Wants to Buy That Bomb You’re Building in the Garage

    DARPA will pay tinkerers to weaponize off-the-shelf items — in hopes of defending against such hacks.

    March 14, 2016
    By Patrick Tucker

    Can you rig your toaster into an improvised explosive device or turn a cheap hobby drone into a weapon of mass destruction? The Pentagon would love to hear from you.

    On Friday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, announced that they would award money to people who can turn consumer electronics, household chemicals, 3-D printed parts, cheap drones or other “commercially available technology” into the next improvised weapon.

    “For decades, U.S. national security was ensured in large part by a simple advantage: a near-monopoly on access to the most advanced technologies. Increasingly, however, off-the-shelf equipment developed for the transportation, construction, agricultural and other commercial sectors features highly sophisticated components, which resourceful adversaries can modify or combine to create novel and unanticipated security threats,” the agency wrote in a press release announcing the Improv program.

    The broad agency announcement, or BAA, puts almost no limit on the scope of the technology that engineers can use in their exploration. It’s an unusual BAA, as they go, specifically designed to catch the attention not just of favored defense contractors but also “skilled hobbyists.” So get your mad scientist hat out, but don’t break the law.

    “Proposers are free to reconfigure, repurpose, program, reprogram, modify, combine, or recombine commercially available technology in any way within the bounds of local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Use of components, products, and systems from non-military technical specialties (e.g., transportation, construction, maritime, and communications) is of particular interest,” the BAA says.

    Also, don’t just mail your toaster bomb in and expect your reward. The program has three phases. First, submit a plan for your prototype and, if DARPA likes it, or rather, finds it terrifying enough, they’ll give you $40,000. A smaller number of participants will be selected to go on to phase two where they will build their device or system with $70,000 more in possible funding. The top candidates here will go on to a final phase for a more in-depth analysis of their invention or system, a big military demo of how your device or system could give the military a very bad day.

    “DARPA often looks at the world from the point of view of our potential adversaries to predict what they might do with available technology,” program manager John Main said in the release on Friday. “Historically we did this by pulling together a small group of technical experts, but the easy availability in today’s world of an enormous range of powerful technologies means that any group of experts only covers a small slice of the available possibilities. In Improv we are reaching out to the full range of technical experts to involve them in a critical national security issue.”

    “Also, don’t just mail your toaster bomb in and expect your reward. The program has three phases. First, submit a plan for your prototype and, if DARPA likes it, or rather, finds it terrifying enough, they’ll give you $40,000. A smaller number of participants will be selected to go on to phase two where they will build their device or system with $70,000 more in possible funding. The top candidates here will go on to a final phase for a more in-depth analysis of their invention or system, a big military demo of how your device or system could give the military a very bad day.”

    Channeling your inner-MacGyver for future death and mayhem. How fun. It should be interesting to see just what sort of off-the-shelf nightmare contraptions DARPA’s cash can inspire. Interesting and, or course, terrifying. Hopefully the guy that 3d-printed a rail gun makes an entry. And let’s also hope the letters DARPA sends letting contestants know that their weapon wasn’t just deemed plausible or terrifying enough to warrant a prize are very politely worded letters. This probably isn’t the group of competitors you want to put into a head space where they feel a need to prove something to the world.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 21, 2016, 2:27 pm

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