Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Could US Military Brain Scans Screen Police for Racial Bias?

Published on January 11, 2016 by   ·   No Comments


Can functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans and other technology currently being tested on soldiers in the US military be used to screen police recruits for hidden racist attitudes? The answer is a resounding YES! Departments all over the country should be paying attention because this is the future and it’s ready to use right now.

It’s just one bi-product of “The Human Brain Project,” whose goal is to map and recreate the brain using super computers. The purpose is to advance the fields of neuroscience, as well as technology. That, of course, is not the goal of the military and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) who are also involved as investors. DARPA’s interest in brain mapping is to understand unique individual human cognition and behavior. On the surface, DARPA will still be funding some of the positive aspects, but behind the scenes they have very different interests. Of course, they aren’t alone in this pursuit, so is The Royal Society’s “Brainwaves Project” in the UK, among others.

fMRI brain scans machine

Brain mapping and manipulation are, in fact, here today and here to stay. By creating a map with an ever-increasing resolution, they can hone in on very specific regions. For the military, much of the focus is on predictive behavior and pre-crime. The idea is that they will develop the technology to the point where they can confidently detect and even predict criminal intent. For instance, DHS has been developing FAST (Future Attribute Screening Technology) mobile units to be placed in airports or other locations. These are configured to use specialized sensors and cameras which people would simply pass through like a metal detector.

Another valuable tool for brain mapping and detection is the fMRI machine (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). It works by tracking oxygen rich blood to image neural activity. Increased activity requires increased oxygen. For instance, the brain’s “reward center” becomes active when listening to music. It also makes other active areas visible like those responsible for deception, happiness, depression, excitement, etc. The current trend in mapping involves visualizing what the subject is thinking- like words, letters or even pictures. For some studies these scans are often used in conjunction with FNIREEGCTIAT or a number of other tests.

Brain scans Map

Now, we have to applaud the military for this move. I would advocate that all law enforcement be proactive in following their example. There are too many half-hearted efforts to reform law enforcement. So, of course, when the military says they plan on using this technology to screen troops, this is a big deal. There are many studies testing these technologies as predictive tools for crime and the war on terrorism. And if we’ve learned anything from the NSA fiasco, we should embrace it for those working within the justice system to self-regulate.

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