Item description for Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense by Jonathan D. Moreno, Tanja Dusy, Ranjana Saklani, Alissa Sheth, Paul Smith, Chris Wilbert, Glenn Barr & Kevin Nowlan...
In his fascinating new book, Jonathan D. Moreno investigates the deeply intertwined worlds of cutting-edge brain science, U.S. defense agencies, and a volatile geopolitical landscape where a nation's weaponry must go far beyond bombs and men. The first-ever exploration of the connections between national security and brain research, Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense reveals how many questions crowd this gray intersection of science and government and urges us to begin to answer them.
From neuropharmacology to neural imaging to brain-machine interface devices that relay images and sounds between human brains and machines, Moreno shows how national security entities seek to harness the human nervous system in a multitude of ways as a potent weapon against the enemy soldier. Moreno charts such projects as monkeys moving robotic arms with their minds, technology to read the brain's thought patterns at a distance, the development of "anti-sleep" drugs to enhance soldiers' battle performance and others to dampen their emotional reactions to the violence, and advances that could open the door to "neuroweapons"—virus-transported molecules to addle the brain.
"As new kinds of weapons are added to the arsenal already at the disposal of fallible human leaders," Moreno writes, "we need to find new ways to address the problem"--of the ethical military application of so powerful and intimate a science. This book is the first step in confronting the quandaries inherent in this partnership of government and neuroscience, serves as a compelling wake-up call for scientists and citizens, and suggests that, with imagination, we might meet the needs of both security and civil liberty.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Nov 17, 2006
Publisher Dana Press
ISBN 1932594167 ISBN13 9781932594164
Availability 0 units.
More About Jonathan D. Moreno, Tanja Dusy, Ranjana Saklani, Alissa Sheth, Paul Smith, Chris Wilbert, Glenn Barr & Kevin Nowlan
Jonathan D. Moreno is Kornfield Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia. He is a member of the National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee and was a staff member on two presidential commissions in the Clinton administration.
Jonathan D. Moreno currently resides in the state of Virginia.
Reviews - What do customers think about Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense?
Interesting analysis of military uses of brain research May 5, 2007
This is an intriguing but speculative volume exploring the possible national defense uses of human brain research. The author, Jonathan Moreno, states his fundamental hypothesis. The idea behind this book (page 3): ". . .if national security agencies had so much interest in how the relatively primitive brain science of the 1950s and 1960s [e.g., testing the effects of LSD] could help find ways to gain a national security edge, surely they must be at least as interested today, when neuroscience is perhaps the fastest growing scientific field, both in terms of numbers of scientists and knowledge being gained." The author wonders at the lack of "ethical discussion among neuroscientists on the national security applications of their work" (page 5).
Moreno speculates about a number of possible links between brain research and national security. Among possible applications: (a) How to better interrogate possible intelligence sources; (b) brainwashing/mind control; (c) improving the performance of our own troops (e.g., how to deal with fatigue); (d) nonlethal weapons.
He concludes the book with a chapter entitled "Toward an ethics of neurosecurity," in which he argues that we need to explore the ethics of possible applications of brain research for national security. He also notes that (page 183) "We should be able to learn and apply the lessons of the new brain science for peaceful purposes. . . . The fields of conflict resolution and peace studies could enrich and be enriched by information from the neurosciences."
The arguments in the book tend to be speculative. The grounding of the argument is not always secure. However, the book does stimulate thinking about a cutting edge issue in application of contemporary science to national security. In that context, this book is useful reading.
Lots of material for public discussion of neuroethics Mar 9, 2007
This is a great book, as long as you think of it as a book for laypeople, to get up to speed on ethical issues revolving around neuroscience research, especially as they relate to US military efforts. It is well written in a fairly conversational tone that keeps the reader interested. I was disappointed that, although it appeared to me at first to be an objective, academic book, it isn't really. I was misled because Moreno is an endowed professor of biomedical ethics, and there are 9 pages of "Sources" and an index. The trouble is that Moreno failed to link many of his points, facts, quotes, and opinions to any of the written sources; there are no citation numbers or other ways (except when he mentions names, which he often doesn't or can't) to trace something he said to the source. Given the highly speculative and controversial nature of the subject matter and how important it is to know where it came from, this would be inexcusable for an academic book. He might get 4.5 stars for his 2nd edition if he fixes this oversight.
Disclaimer: I am a neuroscientist and a pacifist. I wish Moreno had been clear about _his_ position, but we had to guess until p. 136 (out of 184), where he finally admits he finds himself "squarely in the middle" between Fukuyama's ("Our Posthuman Future") dread of all things new and the Futurists' transhumanism. I prefer Ramez Naam's stance, admitting often in his excellent book "More than human" that we ought to embrace, not fear, our ability to change humanity. Moreno's fence-straddling in many ways is a good thing; it allowed him to discuss both sides of a number of arguments rationally and in some detail. As a neuroscience insider (who does not accept military funding), I agree with him that too many researchers deny or ignore the ethical implications of their research.
Moreno's book is an important follow-up to Naam's, since Naam said we need to begin debating and planning for our transhuman future, and Moreno does a fine job of seriously beginning or expanding the parts of that discussion involving the nervous system. His final recommendation is that national committees be formed to make these debates more public. I hope that happens.
Any concerned with democracy, warfare or connections between science and politics must read this. Dec 13, 2006
MIND WARS: BRAIN RESEARCH AND NATIONAL DEFENSE draws some important connections between psychological study and military objective, making it a recommended pick for both military and psychology collections at the college level. Here is a unique presentation of connections between natural security objectives and brain research, documenting ways in which U.S. security forces seek to manipulate the human nervous system to favor warriors and disrupt enemies. From virus-transported molecules called 'neuroweapons' to drugs which repress violent tendencies, neuroscience projects offer deadly potentials influencing not just battlefield applications, but civilians and freedom as well. Any concerned with democracy, warfare or connections between science and politics must read this.
Diane C. Donovan California Bookwatch
Historical, Ethical, and Prospective Views of Neuroscience & the Military Dec 4, 2006
Basic science has always had military applications, but only relatively recently has the defense industry actively funded and solicited scientists to optimize war. In "Mind Wars," Jonathan Moreno analyzes the military's intense interest in modern neuroscience from historical, scientific, and ethical perspectives.
A famous historical example of military funding basic science is the British intelligence services' employment of thousands of mathematicians - including artificial intelligence pioneer Alan Turing - to decipher the Enigma encryption system during World War II. Both the simultaneous development of the ENIAC computer and the role of Vannevar Bush (another artificial intelligence pioneer) as Roosevelt's science advisor helped to solidified the defense industry's interest in advanced mathematics and computer science.
Far less famous is the long-standing interest of the military in the behavioral sciences, which Jonathan Moreno carefully traces back to its roots in the psychological analyses of American soldiers in the 1950s to improve training and recruiting techniques. Moreno estimates that the military - including KUBARK, the codename for what would come to be known as the CIA - was the real source of nearly all federal funding for 1950's behavioral sciences. More than a third of American research psychologists were funded through such channels (frequently without their knowledge). This startling conclusion is validated by the involvement of several 1950's psychologists in the development of interrogation techniques (involving psychological torture and humiliation) as well as even by contemporary psychology's involvement in the Abu Ghraib scandal (and refusal by the American Psychological Association to critcize such practices).
After this historical introduction, "Mind Wars" turns its focus to the potential military applications of neuroscience - a field that represents the convergence of medical, computer and behavioral science, into each of which the military has poured enormous sums for decades. Moreno covers several existing programs, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Augmented Cognition (AugCog) and Preventing Sleep Deprivation (PSD) programs, involving the use of "smart drugs" like modafinil and CX717, as well as the development of nonlethal weapons such as hypersonic "high intensity directed acoustics" or microwave-radiating "active denial systems." Moreno also cautiously discusses some of the military's future directions, such as "rapid onset brain-targeted bioweapons," with a careful eye towards what is technically feasible and what is merely hype.
In what is probably the best part of "Mind Wars" (and unexpectedly so, at least for me), Moreno discusses the ethical implications of neuroscience's involvement with the military. Moreno admits that he is no "loose cannon" - indeed, he has given invited testimony to Congress, has served on two presidential ethics commissions, and is an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security. Nonethelesss his analysis is incredibly even-handed, bringing up topics like the philosophy of "dual use" for military science, the history of the practice of informed consent (which actually began in the military decades before it was used in academia), and the privacy implications of new neurotechnology.
The book itself is written in a highly conversational tone, filled with interesting and relevant personal anecdotes (of which Moreno has many; his father was a psychiatrist involved in the military testing of LSD). Moreno's sources are well cited, where possible: many of his government contacts declined to be identified by name.
"Mind Wars" will likely be enjoyed by both neuroscientists, psychologists, and lay people alike, although experts are likely to be familiar with most of the existing technologies and programs that Moreno reviews. On the other hand, the historical and ethical treatment of military neuroscience are the most timeless contributions of "Mind Wars" to this debate, and will be interesting to anyone with an interest in science and its applications.