Thought 2020 sucked? Well, get ready for 2021, where we’ll have to deal with not only new mutated virus strains, economic collapse, political instability and environmental catastrophes, but also jackbooted super soldiers who’re immune to pain and have advanced senses and inhuman strength.
Sound crazy? Well, China has already confirmed the development of genetically enhanced troops and now France has officially given an ethical thumbs-up to their own bionic commandos, and it doesn’t sound like they’ll be Captain America-style good guys.
The report released by the French military this week outlines various procedures that will enhance soldiers’ “physical, cognitive, perceptive and psychological capacities,” including suppressing the sensation of pain, improving their cognitive abilities via computer links, enhancing their perception through night and IR vision and strengthening their mental defences against torture.
Kings College London professor Michael Clark was asked about this brave new world by British tabloid The Sun and warned of an impending “super soldier arms race.”
“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 to give them more back, we can do that now very precisely with humans.”
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US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe also warned of these developments in a recent column in the Wall Street Journal, saying:
“U.S. intelligence shows that China has even conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities. … There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power.”
So, what about our own super soldiers? Well, the US government is keeping a tight lid on their plans, though there are undoubtedly top secret experiments underway. DARPA has already revealed a prototype brain/computer interface which they bill as assisting injured combat veterans, though it has obvious utility for regular grunts as well. Could it really be too long before the world is torn apart by emotionless online ‘smart soldiers’ that absolutely will not stop until they fulfil their mission?
It sure sounds like we’re barrelling towards some kind of dystopian future. But will we end up with a real life Captain America or trapped in Metal Gear Solid? One thing’s for sure. War… has changed.