Technology and robotics have been advancing at incredible rates, and as such the U.S. Army believes these could be so well-tuned by 2050 that their troops could become cyber-enhanced super soldiers.
A study by the Department of Defence recently predicted this technologically-enhanced path, stating that improved vision, hearing, muscular control, and not to mention telepathy could all be possible within 30 years.
The report called Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human/Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of DOD highlights this Army vision.
What does the report suggest will be possible by 2050?
The Army blog, where the report was published, highlights four main points where technology will enable a cyborg soldier suit to be created.
They are as follows:
1. Occular enhancements, to imaging, sight, and situational awareness.
At the moment, soldiers depend on their regular sight during the day, and at night they rely on bulky night-vision goggles. These goggles take a while to get used to, but more importantly are an extra weight to carry, and not to mention issues could arise if they are destroyed or lost.
So, the report suggests that contact lenses are a strong possibility. These lenses could offer the same night vision, but also zooming assistance, as well as projecting critical data directly in the soldiers' field of vision.
2. Restoration and programmed muscular control through an optogenetic bodysuit.
When soldiers, like all human beings, exert themselves, their muscles get sore and require time to rest. Unfortunately, active duty circumstances sometimes makes this rest time hard to come by.
3. Auditory enhancement for communication and protection.
Being able to hear properly is crucial for survival on the battlefield. Not only that, but protecting soldiers' hearing against weapon blasts currently relies on noise-canceling ear protection. This protection is bulky though.
So, the futuristic answer to that would be a more compact headset for ear and hearing protection.
4. Direct neural enhancement of the human brain for two-way data transfer
Here's the big one. Telepathy. Imagine a world where soldiers can exchange information and data telepathically. It would revolutionize warfare.
These four technologies put together could indeed create some type of cyborg soldier by 2050, as the U.S. Army predicts. That said, these advancements will most certainly come at a pretty price, so we'll have to wait and see what troops end up looking like in 30 years' time.