New Publication: Neuroenhancements in the Military

Updated: Mar 7

It is well-known that the military uses the latest science and technology to maximize human performance in critical missions. Neurotechnology, which comes in the form of pills, neural implants, and neuroprostheses, is one such method that the military has used. However, there is a fine line between necessary aids and infringing on the autonomy of soldiers and physicians using and implementing the neurotechnology. Our two-part investigation explored the ethical dimensions of military neuroenhancements with military officers – those most likely to be making decisions about this in the future. Using the Hybrid Framework, which was proposed by academic researchers working in the U.S. context and comprises “rules” for military neuroenhancement, we developed three workshops and a survey to probe the extent of rule endorsement. Results show high levels of endorsement for a soldier decision-making autonomy, but lower support for the view that enhanced soldiers would pose a danger to society after service. By examining the endorsement of concrete decision-making guidelines, we provide an overview of how military officers might, in practice, resolve tensions between competing values or higher-level principles. Our results suggest that the military context demands a recontextualization of the relationship between military and civilian ethics.

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