Reading one of those mind-brain articles by John Horgan yesterday, I ran into this text—
And even if we don’t [manage to] explain consciousness, our investigations will surely yield lots of practical applications, such as neural prosthetics and bionic upgrades.
Say what? WTF?
But that raises another question. What if science boosts our minds’ power without giving us greater self-understanding?
Following that link, I found Why You Should Care about Pentagon Funding of Obama's BRAIN Initiative.
[The Brain Initiative's] biggest funder is the Pentagon, more specifically the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. According to the White House, Darpa is putting up $50 million, more than the National Institutes of Health ($40 million) and National Science Foundation ($20 million).
There's nothing new about the militarization of brain science. Ten years ago, when I was writing an article on how information is encoded in the brain, Darpa was already a major funder of research on neural coding and neural prosthetics.
Darpa program manager Alan Rudolph told me back then that the agency was interested in a wide range of potential applications, including "performance enhancement" of soldiers via either implanted or external electrodes linked to electronic devices.
One specific possibility, Rudolph told me, was a brain-machine interface that would allow soldiers to control a jet or other weapon system through thought alone, as in the 1982 Clint Eastwood film Firefox.
That "performance enhancement" bullshit apparently didn't fly, so later on we see DARPA floating some new bullshit (another meaningless post-hoc rationalization).
... over the last decade is that the Pentagon has become much cagier about its motives in supporting brain research.
Darpa now claims that its primary interest in brain science is treatment of injured soldiers.
As the White House put it, Darpa hopes that brain science will "dramatically improve the way we diagnose and treat war fighters suffering from post-traumatic stress, brain injury and memory loss."
Whatever. Maybe this new bullshit will gain traction. It sounds so humane! Of course if you want to avoid PTSD in war veterans, you might stop fighting wars.
Just kidding! Sorry! Couldn't help myself! I'm better now!
We also learn that "leading neuroscientists, including Floyd Bloom and Michael Gazzaniga," are writing reports advising other neuroscientists how they too can "tap into military funding."
Again, I've gotta ask — what's consciousness good for? Fucking hopeless in Flatland.
Have a nice weekend.