China, Mind Control Weapons, and the Future of Warfare

December 28, 2021 Updated: December 31, 2021

Commentary

The Biden administration took action this month against 34 Chinese entities with close ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The 12 Chinese research institutes and 22 Chinese tech firms in question have a history of weaponizing biotechnology and enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The Biden administration, clearly concerned by the threats posed, chose to impose a whole host of trade and investment restrictions on the highly-questionable entities.

According to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, although “the scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives,” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) instead chooses “to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups. We cannot allow U.S. commodities, technologies, and software that support medical science and biotechnical innovation to be diverted toward uses contrary to U.S. national security.”

Most worryingly of all, many of the aforementioned institutes and tech firms “use biotechnology processes to support Chinese military end uses and end users, to include purported brain-control weaponry,” she added.

Talk of “brain control” weapons might sound unrealistic, even ludicrous, but it really shouldn’t. This type of technology is very real. In China, we’re told, it already exists.

Today, warfare is less about boots on the ground and more about technological prowess. In the not so distant future, as technology dominates more of the landscape, computers won’t be the only things being hacked. Our minds will, too. And there’s plenty of reason to believe that China, home to some of the savviest hackers in the world, will be the ones doing the majority of the hacking.

Of course, China isn’t the only country exploring futuristic-sounding weaponry. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, more commonly referred to as DARPA, is also developing mind-bending machines.

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Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence developed by Hanson Robotics is pictured during a presentation at the “AI for Good” Global Summit at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland, June 7, 2017. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

For a number of years now, DARPA has been working on ways to read soldiers’ minds. The end goal, according to authors at Live Science, is thought-controlled weapons, “like swarms of drones that someone sends to the skies with a single thought or the ability to beam images from one brain to another.”

Mark Hunt, a mixed martial artist from New Zealand, once called the mind the most powerful weapon we have. When he uttered these words, one assumes that he wasn’t talking about literal weapons. However, as you can see, the weaponization of the human mind is fast becoming a reality, and the world is ill-prepared for the threats that await us.

Hacking the Human Brain

The futurist Ray Kurzweil imagines a future where humans merge with computers, nanotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence. This is what he calls the Singularity, the point at which machines and humans form a symbiotic bond. By 2045, according to the American inventor, the Singularity will be here.

If you are wondering what exactly a Kurzweilian world will look like, look no further than Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk back in 2016. According to the company’s website, Neuralink is busy “designing the first neural implant that will let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go. Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link,” a sealed, implanted device that “processes, stimulates, and transmits neural signals.”

For an individual suffering from paralysis, for example, this device could prove to be a lifesaver. However, there is just one problem—and it’s a significant one. This device can be hacked. And, as we know by now, anything that can be hacked will be hacked.

As the Geneva Center for Security Policy warns, Neuralink-type devices open up the door (or mind) to the threat of “malicious brain-hacking.” This includes “the possibility of co-opting brain-computer interfaces and other neural engineering devices to access or manipulate neural information from the brain of users.”

And it’s not just our minds that will be vulnerable to hacking; our cars will also be at risk. By 2030, 1 in 10 vehicles will be self-driving. Autonomous vehicles, it’s important to note, can be hacked. You know what else can be hacked? Your home. More specifically, smart homes.

For the uninitiated, smart homes are places overflowing with technology—think smart fridges, CCTV cameras, computerized garage doors, talking door bells, etc. All of these devices can be controlled remotely by devices like smartphones, for example.

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AI (Artificial Intelligence) security cameras with facial recognition technology are seen at the 14th China International Exhibition on Public Safety and Security at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2018. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2019, a Milwaukee-based couple’s home was hacked by unknown intruders. According to the traumatized couple, the attackers “played disturbing music from the video system at high-volume while talking to them via a camera in the kitchen, and also changed the room temperature to 90 degrees Fahrenheit by exploiting the thermostat.”

Three years from now, according to authors at Digital Market Outlook, the United States will have more than 77 million smart homes. If our minds, cars, and homes can be hacked, where can we hope to find sanctuary?

Although discussions surrounding the future of warfare, including mind control weapons, are of the utmost importance, discussions surrounding our very existence mustn’t be ignored. The battlefields of tomorrow will be located in our minds and in our homes. How can we protect ourselves from the threats that await us? This is a question with very few obvious answers.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published, among others, by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.