Those who are fans of commercial technologies spinning off from military or government research will be happy to know that the field of neuroscience is getting plenty of attention and government funding. The Australian has published an article by biomedical ethicist Jonathan Moreno of the University of Virginia, Mind out for the new battlefield. Moreno is author of the recently released book, Mind Wars, which we’re reading now and will review shortly.
Moreno’s article suggest that some of the most important work in neuroscience is being funded by DARPA, the government agency charged with pushing the technology envelope. DARPA’s funding runs the gamut of neuroscience research, including use of fMRI as a lie detector or even a sort of “mind reading” device; neuropharmaceuticals, like drugs to keep pilots awake and alert; various chemical and electronic brain enhancement techniques, and many more areas.
The article only briefly touches on the commercial potential of neuromarketing: “There are also commercial possibilities, of course. For instance, businesses are already intrigued by the possibilities of using brain-imaging techniques to conduct market research.” Moreno points out that neuroscientists, like atomic scientists in the past, will have to weigh ethical considerations when working on science that could have both medical and military applications.
We quoted Moreno in an older post, Neuro-Alarmism: Author Links Neuroscience & Government, as saying, “This stuff is creepy.” Thankfully, this article seems to adopt a more measured tone. We’ll let you know about Mind Wars soon.