Future challenges to the btwc neuroscience
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Future Challenges to the BTWC: Neuroscience. SIPRI workshop 5/6.03.11 Steven Rose [email protected] Themes. 1. Current developments in neuroscience 2. Likely relevant neurotech developments 3. Five dichotomies 4. Emerging issues relevant to BTWC. Genetic Manipulation.

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Future Challenges to the BTWC: Neuroscience

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Future challenges to the btwc neuroscience

Future Challenges to the BTWC: Neuroscience

  • SIPRI workshop 5/6.03.11

  • Steven Rose

  • [email protected]



  • 1. Current developments in neuroscience

  • 2. Likely relevant neurotech developments

  • 3. Five dichotomies

  • 4. Emerging issues relevant to BTWC

Genetic manipulation

Genetic Manipulation

  • Knock out, knock in mouse models

  • Human genome,

  • Epigenomics, proteomics etc

Windows into the brain

Windows into the brain

  • fMRI

  • MEG

  • ERP

  • PET

Smart pharmacology

Smart pharmacology

  • Smart pharmacology and single photon confocal microscopy

The coming decades

The coming decades

  • Four technoscientific developments of potential significance to conflict and control

1 human machine interfaces

1. Human-machine interfaces

  • Visual and other prostheses

  • Implanted chips

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

2 psychopathic brains

2. Psychopathic Brains?

3 brain imaging for surveillance

3. Brain imaging for surveillance

  • “How do we determine if a person is a terrorist or spy? There is a new technology, that ..allows us to measure scientifically if specific information is stored in a person’s brain. Brain Fingerprinting technology can determine the presence or absence of specific information, such as terrorist training and associations. This exciting new technology can help….

  • discover if a person:

  • Has committed terrorist acts

  • Has been trained as a terrorist

  • Is a terrorist leader…. (from the company website)

4 new psychochemicals

4. New psychochemicals

  • Greater behavioural insights leading to new control technologies

  • Rational drug design to interact with neurotransmitters, receptors, affecting central and peripheral nervous system

  • New methods of delivery for peptides etc

Five conflict control dichotomies

Five Conflict/Control Dichotomies

  • Lethal/ ‘Non-lethal’

  • Military/ Civilian

  • Enhancing/ Degrading

  • Physical/(Bio)Chemical


Lethal non lethal

Lethal/ ‘Non-Lethal’

  • Lethal – nerve gases, toxins etc.

    • Already covered by conventions – no new issues from neuroscience although new genetic technologies make possible wider range of specific toxins? Targeted ‘ethnic weapons’?

  • ‘Non-Lethal’ aka ‘Riot Control’

    • Agents that incapacitate, disorientate, induce pain or loss of consciousness

      • Many new issues

  • Military civilian


    • Present conventions deal with military uses – do not cover uses in civil conflict, by police etc.

    • Thus a grey area – witness past and current events in Russia, Israel/Palestine, Libya …..

    • In general such civil conflict uses employ ‘non-lethal’ agents though often in contexts in which they are far from non-lethal

    • Many nations have active ‘non-lethal’ research programmes – ambiguous civil/military intentions

    Enhancement degradation

    Enhancement /Degradation

    • Neuroscience advances offer military technologies of enhancement to one’s own side – eg brain/computer interfaces, cognitive and attention enhancers (eg ritalin, modafanil)

    • as well as technologies of degradation to opponents – again only degradation considered here

    Potential physical non cb weaponry aimed at neural systems

    Potential Physical (non CB) Weaponry aimed at neural systems

    • Trans-cranial magnetic stimulation

    • Directed energy (microwaves, lasers etc)

    • Acoustic energy (sound blasters)

    • ‘Active denial’

    • etc (see Davison: ‘Non-lethal’ weapons, 2009; RS report 2011)

    • Some in current production and use (eg IDF)

    • Some under US, Czech, German contracts (Davison 2009, BMA 2007)

    • Much snake-oil

    Active denial technology

    Active Denial Technology

    • ‘a breakthrough non-lethal technology that uses millimetre-wave electromagnetic energy to stop, deter and turn back an advancing adversary from relatively long range… ADT exploits intolerance of thermally induced pain..maximised at a temperature of 550C’ but ‘does not burn’..

    • developed by Communications and Power Industries, Palo Alto

    • 2004 - system delivered by Raytheon to US military

    • Press release states device meets approved human and animal research protocols (!)

    • (Girard, 2005)

    The scream weapon

    The Scream Weapon

    • Bil’in, near Ramallah, June 6 2005

    • “new weapon knocks crowds off feet”

    • “the knees buckle high technology toolkit”, the brain aches, the stomach turns..the latest weapon in the Israeli army’s toolkit”

    • (Press reports)

    Bio chemical agents aimed at pns

    (Bio)Chemical agents aimed at PNS

    • Tear gasses etc in this category:

    • Enhanced CS

    • Pepper ball (PAVA; capsaicin)

    • Agents causing temporary blindness or neuromuscular relaxation/paralysis

    • Nb all can be lethal

    The pepperball

    The Pepperball

    • IDF attack on peaceful Israeli and Palestinian protest against the Wall, 28 April 05

    • “a small transparent red plastic ball …containing a creamy white powder.. when it hits the skin and explodes produces an extreme burning sensation”

    • (Giacaman, 2005)

    Definitions for cns non lethals

    Definitions for CNS non-lethals

    • Highly potent

    • Duration hours to days but effects transient

    • Reversible effects

    • Low ED50, High LD50

    • (but impossible in practice)

    • Logistically feasible - i.e skin or breath absorbable, cross BBB, weaponisable

    Non lethal agents aimed at cns

    ‘Non-Lethal’ agents aimed at CNS

    • ‘off the rocker’ or ‘on the floor’ (Davison)

    • Incapacitating/calmative (thiopental, diazepam)

    • Sedative –hypnotic (barbiturates)

    • anxiolytic

    • Convulsant

    • Disorienting (BZ – muscarinic antagonist, other hallucinogens)

    • Paralysing/anaesthetic/analgesic (opioids, fentanyl)

    Potential novel agents

    Potential novel agents

    • Non-cholinergic or opioid agonists/antagonists

      • Receptor/reuptake inhibitors

    • ‘Memory erasers’ (anti-CREB etc)

    • ‘Trust inducers’ (oxytocin etc)

    • ‘Mood-modifiers’

    • Derived from non-traditional drugs – peptides, proteins, ge toxins etc

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