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The Shape of Things to Come: The Military Benefits of the Brain-Computer Interface in 2040

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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By 2040, advanced brain-computer interfaces BCIs will provide the American warfighter with remarkable advantages. As the role of robots and incredibly advanced computer systems permeate throughout the military infrastructure, BCI will provide the means to realize maximum performance from human-computer collaboration enhancing both human and software performance providing the needed ability to solve and adapt to growing battlespace complexities. Current BCI technology already demonstrates the ability to directly interpret and influence neural activity related to sensory information, as well as the intention to perform motor functions, human cognitive ability, and physiological regulation. Based upon a conservative projection of technological advancement, the impact of portable BCI technology in 2040 will have significant military benefits to include heightened situational awareness, enhanced autonomous system management, human cognitive enhancement beyond natural abilities, synthetic telepathy, augmented realityresponse, improved training techniques and reduced casualty rates with improved medical outcomes. It will be the bidirectional type of BCI, providing two-way communication and influence between brain and computer, which will open the full potential to exploit the powerful communicative and human-machine performance boosting opportunities offered by this technology. The Department of Defense should capitalize on this emerging technology. It should specifically foster the development of bidirectional BCI and pursue the technological or non-technologic means to increase human sensitivity to BCI methods.

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