AKA: My side project may not be too far off after all, you guys.
In the not-too-distant future, technologies called brain-machine interfaces could allow the combination of human brains with sophisticated computer programs. Analysts with a brain chip could quickly sift through huge amounts of intelligence data, and fighter pilots merged with computer search algorithms could rapidly lock onto an enemy target, for instance.
Neuroscience could also find its way into interrogation rooms: As scientists learn more about how the brain generates feelings of trust, drugs could be developed that inspire that emotion in prisoners and detainees. Oxytocin, a hormone produced by mothers’ bodies after childbirth, is one such candidate. Perhaps a whiff of oxytocin could dampen a person’s executive functions, turning an uncooperative detainee into a chatty friend.
Other sorts of psychopharmacological manipulation could be used to boost soldiers’ performance, allowing them to remain vigilant without sleep, heighten their perceptual powers and erase memories of their actions on the battlefield. Because neuroscientists are beginning to understand how the brain forms memories, it’s not inconceivable that a drug could be designed to prevent PTSD. Such technology could enable more sinister applications, though, such as creating soldiers who wouldn’t remember atrocities they committed or detainees who couldn’t recall their own torture.
I’ll be meeting with my ex KGB source again, and plan on asking his thoughts about this. I’ve got more of his accounts on interrogation before we move on to torture and sniper work.