From Publishers Weekly
Imagine a future conflict in which one side can scan from a distance the brains of soldiers on the other side and learn what they may be planning or whether they are confident or fearful. In a crisply written book, University of Virginia ethicist Moreno notes that military contractors have been researching this possibility, as well as the use of electrodes embedded in soldiers' and pilots' brains to enhance their fighting ability. Moreno (Is There an Ethicist in the House?
) details the Pentagon's interest in such matters, including studies of paranormal phenomena like ESP, going back several decades. Readers learn that techniques like hypersonic sound and targeted energetic pulses to disable soldiers are close to being used in the field, and even have everyday applications that make "targeted advertising" an understatement. Despite the book's title, Moreno doesn't limit his discussion to brain-related research; he explains the military's investigation of how to enhance soldiers' endurance and reaction time in combat as well as various nonlethal disabling technologies. The ethical implications are addressed throughout the book, but the author leaves substantive discussion to his praiseworthy last chapter. (Nov.)
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"Fascinating, clear-headed, optimistic, and lu (Sally Satel 2006-05-30)
"Moreno asks the tough ethical and policy questions that arise from using knowledge about how the human brain functions. . . . Accessibly written. . . . Given the topic''s provocative nature, this is recommended for all science and bioethics collections."-- Library Journal
(James A. Buczynski Library Journal
"A fascinating and sometimes unsettling book. . . . Any academic involvement in military research presents an ethical dilemma, and Moreno''s exploration of this theme is one of the most interesting aspects of the book. He is no knee-jerk pacifist: he accepts that military force is sometimes necessary and argues convincingly that contact between military and civilian research is healthier than the alternative of total secrecy. He also acknowledges the ''dual-use'' argument that many DARPA-funded programs have clear civilian pay-offs. Yet by taking military funding, he says, researchers are in some sense accomplices to the perpetuation of what he calls a ''national security state,'' a posture of open-ended militarization supported by a vast budget that in the view of many critics, bears little relation to the actual threats confronting the United States."—Charles Jennings, Nature
(Charles Jennings Nature
"There has been virtually no debate on the ethical questions raised by the brave new brain technologies. . . . Neuroscientists have been strangely silent. The time to speak up is before the genie is out of the bottle."--Sharon Begley, Wall Street Journal
(Sharon Begley Wall Street Journal
"Quietly provocative. . . . Moreno takes an evenhanded, thorough look at how deeply the intelligence and defense communities are involved in many of those advances and the mindfields that might lie ahead. . . . In a thoughtful, easy-to-digest way, Moreno catalogs a long list of projects, some purely speculative, others in the development pipeline."--John Mangels, The Plain Dealer
(John Mangels Cleveland Plain Dealer
Interviewed on November 20th "Diane Rehm Show."
(Diane Rhem Diane Rhem Show
"Fascinating and frightening. . . . Moreno''s book is important since there has been little discussion about the ethical implications of such research, and the science is at an early enough stage that it might yet be redirected in response to public discussion."--Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
(Hugh Gusterson Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
"Moreno offers readers a unique picture of the history of this effort and of the wide range of innovations being developed in behavioral and brain science with the interest and support of US national defense agencies. . . . This research raises serious social and policy questions that require broader public discussion. Accordingly, this book deserves a wide readership. Discussing a complex subject in a clear writing style, Moreno makes his material readily accessible to an audience that will include interested laypeople."--Choice
(R. L. Jones Choice
"An exhilarating and anxiety-provoking whirlwind tour of recent developments in neuroscience that possess defense or national security potential. . . . Mind Wars is, of course, much more than a tour of developments in neuroscience. Moreno provides an admirably accessible introduction to philosophy of mind, and he thoughtfully discusses a number of ethical issues raised by the research including dignity and cognitive liberty. . . . [a] groundbreaking text."--American Journal of Bioethics
(Jonathan Marks American Journal of Bioethics
“One of the most important thinkers describes the literally-mind-boggling possibilities that modern brain science could present for national security.”--Lawrence J. Korb, Assistance Secretary of Defense 1981-85
(Lawrence J. Korb 2006-04-25)