The Pentagon is looking to better train its troops--by scanning their minds as they play video games.
Adaptive, mind-reading computer systems have been a work-in-progress among military agencies for at least a decade. In 2000, far-out research agency Darpa launched “Augmented Cognition,” a program that sought to develop computers that used EEG scans to adjust how they displayed information--visually, orally, or otherwise--to avoid overtaxing one realm of a troop’s cognition.
The Air Force also took up the idea, by trying to use EEGs to “assess the operator’s actual cognitive state” and “avoid cognitive bottlenecks before they occur.”
Zeroing in on brain power is a strategy that reflects the changing tactics of war-fighting: today’s troop needs to be as cognitively ready as they are physically--if not more. They’ve also got to spend more time on the ground in urban settings, interacting with locals and canvassing for information. That’s where virtual cultural trainers often come in handy. Troops are prepped in language, social norms and cultural sensitivity, before they even leave their base.
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