[The internet of bodies could lead to an internet of minds

Human Augmentation, Internet of Bodies, Internet of Brains and Transhumanism

The report commissioned by the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and supported by RAND Europe's Center for Futures and Foresight Studies (CFFS) examines six information technologies and environments and their implications for UK defence. These technologies include human augmentation, the Internet of Bodies, the Internet of Brains, and also address the concept of transhumanism:

1. Human Growth : Advances in human augmentation technologies are likely to have significant effects on human capabilities and performance, which could affect defense strategies and military operations.

2. Internet of Bodies (Internet of Bodies): The emergence of the Internet of Bodies, where connected devices collect biological data from users, could open up new possibilities for surveillance, health and security, but also raises questions about data confidentiality and security .

3. Brain Internet (Internet of Brains): The prospect of an Internet of Brains, allowing direct communication between human brains, could revolutionize human interactions and have profound implications for defense in terms of communication and coordination.

The Internet of Bodies could also lead to an Internet of Brains, that is, human brains connected to the Internet to facilitate direct brain-to-brain communication and allow access to online data networks.“. RAND Corporation, March 2024 p. 61/101

4. Transhumanism : The exploration of transhumanism, which aims to enhance human capabilities beyond their physical limits, raises ethical and philosophical questions about the nature of humanity and could influence defense policies regarding the ethics and regulation of emerging technologies.

5. Other emerging technologies : The report also looks at other emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, metacomposite, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality, which could transform military operations, surveillance and defense decision-making.

6. Security and privacy implications : By exploring these technologies and information environments, the report highlights potential challenges to security, data privacy and protecting sensitive information in an increasingly connected and digitized world.

These six technology and environment areas provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities UK defense could face over the 2035-2050 horizon, highlighting the importance of understanding and adapting to the rapidly changing technology and information landscape.

While some experts predict the regular improvement of human capabilities, others have explored the possible emergence of transhumanism by 2050“. RAND Corporation, March 2024 p. 67/100

Human growth is an interdisciplinary field based on advances in various technological areas such as sensing*, actuation*, neurosciences and artificial intelligence techniques. Technological applications most relevant to human augmentation include wearable devices and implants for monitoring and analyzing physiological and environmental data, such as biochips and implantable sensors. These technologies aim to monitor physiological data in real time to understand health conditions and human performance. In addition, sensory augmentation technologies such as hearing and retinal implants are designed to enhance or augment sensory activities, particularly vision and hearing. Smart prosthetics, including exoskeletons, are a related category that augment users' physical capabilities and improve their mobility, strength, endurance and other abilities. Brain-computer or brain-brain interfaces that create direct communications between human brains and/or computing devices.

Advances in brain-computer interfaces could translate into the development of brain-to-brain communication technologies, leading to entirely new ways of interpersonal communication“. RAND Corporation, March 2024 p. 69/101

The Internet of Bodies and the Internet of Brains represent major advances in communication and interaction technologies. Advances in brain-computer interfaces could lead to the development of brain-to-brain communication technologies, paving the way for new ways of interpersonal communication. These developments could revolutionize the way people interact and communicate, allowing for more immediate and immersive forms of communication.

For transhumanismsome experts predict a steady improvement in human capabilities, while others envision the possible emergence of transhumanism by 2050. Transhumanism refers to a new form of humanity where information technology, communication, and biomedicine will fundamentally improve the human condition and greatly enhance the mental, physical and psychological capacities of individuals.

According to the report, transhumanism includes the adoption of significantly advanced technologies by 2050, such as brain-to-brain communication and genetic enhancement. However, adoption of human augmentation technologies may depend heavily on societal understanding of the risks, safety, and comparative advantages of these technologies. Substantial levels of human augmentation can blur notions of identity and what it means to be human, introducing new normative lenses for humanity and creating new stigmas for those not deemed to meet these standards.

In addition, inequalities in access to relevant technologies may arise, introducing new forms of digital exclusion where economically disadvantaged individuals may not have access to the same level of improvement as other segments of society. These inequalities could potentially reinforce cultural divisions between 'augmented' and 'non-augmented' communities, challenging social norms and values ​​of justice.

In conclusion, technological advances in human augmentation, the Internet of Bodies, the Internet of Brains, and transhumanism open up new perspectives on how individuals interact with technology and with each other. These developments also raise ethical and social questions about the impact of these technologies on human nature and society as a whole.

Slapakova, Linda, Abby Fraser, Megan Hughes, Maria Chiara Aquilino, and Kristin Thue, Cultural and technological change in the future information environment, RAND Corporation, RR-A2662-1, 2024. Accessed March 28, 2024: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA2662-1.html


*Detection refers to the process of locating, identifying, or recognizing a specific object in a given environment. It involves the use of sensors, instruments or devices to perceive signals, stimuli or characteristics and convert them into actionable data. Detection is essential in many fields such as surveillance, security, medicine, engineering and scientific research.

Actuation, on the other hand, refers to the ability of a system to perform an action or produce movement in response to a specific signal, command, or input. It involves the use of devices, mechanisms or technologies to convert input signals into physical or functional actions. Actuator systems are widely used in automation, robotics, autonomous vehicles, electronics, and home automation.

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