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    “Homo robocopus” | Sci-fi scenario or reality? Indicative list of possibilities – VIDEO

    Defence Redefined
    Published on 26/12/2020 at 21:07

    Just two weeks after it was announced that China was developing biologically enhanced super soldiers, France has officially joined the “closed” – and, by many, controversial – “club”, according to a new report. 

    It is noted that the superpowers of the planet, USA and Russia, already have their own research programs in this field. An indicative example was a study on behalf of the US Department of Defence entitled “Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human / Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of the DOD” published in 2019.

    Earlier in December, France, after consulting the relevant military committee on ethics, approved the development of “bionic” or “augmented soldiers”, which will gain additional capabilities through the usage of, among others, microchip implants and drugs.

    The report of the Interdisciplinary Military Committee takes into account medical treatments, additives and implants that improve physical, cognitive, perceptive and psychological capacities and could allow for location tracking or connectivity with weapon systems and other soldiers.

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    Among other things, the French Ministry of Defence stated that its research includes drugs to keep soldiers awake for long periods of time and to fight combat stress. The Ministry even mentioned surgery to improve their (soldiers’) hearing. 

    The new species of augmented soldiers, dubbed “homo robocopus”, could also have altered DNA to give them enhanced speed and strength.

    Michael Clarke, a visiting professor of war studies at King’s College London (KCL), told The Sun: “We’ve reached the point now where we could potentially manipulate people’s DNA to breed into them extra strength, endurance and other things just as we do with animals, just as we’ve done with standard cattle…”

    Clarke added that the struggle to create super-soldiers is fueled internationally due to fears about China’s program.

     

    “What they’re all thinking about is what might come up in 30 years’ time, given another 10 years development and experimentation,” Clarke told the newspaper. “The Chinese in 30 years’ time might have a cohort of people who are 20 years old who’ve got particular characteristics they might have tried to breed into them by manipulating DNA.”

    Due to DNA manipulation, future soldiers could also be immune to disease and feelings.

    A recent report by the International Society for Military Ethics in Europe obtained by the Sun reveals a dystopic arena full of bionic men capable of fighting “all the time.”

    “Enhanced soldiers would be reduced to bionic men, who run fast, do not need sleep, eat and drink very little and can fight all the time,” the report states. “A new species is born: Homo robocopus.”

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    Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of war studies at KCL, told the Sun robotics are of more importance: “There are people going back into combat in ways they wouldn’t have been able to before because prosthetics have been improved.”

    French Defence Minister, Florence Parly, warned that “we have to be clear, not everyone has the same scruples as us and we have to prepare ourselves for such a future”.

    According to an article (in greek) in the newspaper “Simerini” by Lambros Kaoullas (PhD), the publication of the French report almost coincided with an article published by the US Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe in the “Wall Street Journal” (March 12, 2020), in which he expressed his concerns about China, the communist threat, world democracy and military technology.

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    Ratcliffe wrote that “US intelligence shows that China has even conducted human experiments on members of the People’s Liberation Army in the hope of developing soldiers with biologically improved capabilities.”

    Simerini’s article also refers to the statements of General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of Defence Staff of the United Kingdom Armed Forces in an interview with “Sky News” (November 8th, 2020). The General warned that the world is going through a “very uncertain and anxious” period as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, along with the risk of regional tensions escalating into a Third World War.

    When asked if the 82,000-strong army would be reduced, the British chief of the Armed Forces stated, among other things: “…. I suspect we can have an army of 120,000 of which 30,000 might be robots, who knows. But the answer is we need to open our minds to perhaps numbers not determining what we should be doing, but rather the effect that we can achieve, is really what we should be looking for.”

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    Below is some of the tech in progress to create “homo robocopus,” according to the Sun.

    Super Soldier Tech © Sun

    Brain Microchips – France has been given permission to develop microchips to enhance a soldier’s brain functions.

    Bionic eyes – Being developed in Hong Kong, this gives users infrared and night vision.

    Super-Hearing – The US’s Tactical Communication and Protective System entails smart earbuds which boost soldiers’ hearing to be near superhuman.

    Health Implant – The infamous DARPA, the Pentagon’s research arm, is developing cyborg implants to monitor combat efficiency.

    Enhanced limbs – A report by the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) has revealed plans to equip US soldiers with enhanced limbs for increased strength.

    Exoskeleton legs – The US Army has tested an exoskeleton which can be attached to soldier’s legs and can increase their productivity by up to 27 times.

    Synthetic Blood – Respirocyte is a theoretical red blood cell that could help soldiers not get out of breath and stay underwater for hours.

    Pain Immunity – DARPA’s Persistence in Combat initiative would allow soldiers to have their pain suppressed for 30 days.

    One thing is certain. These technologies, along with all the ethical issues that accompany them (at least some of them), will be under public debate in the near future, a future which – for many – is deemed to be more uncertain than ever before.

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