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Superhuman News 🤖 - Drone Symbiose Jetfighter

Peter Joosten MSc.
Peter Joosten MSc.
Hey there,
How far would you go to do your job? Would you consider a chip in your brain to work seamlessly with colleagues, drones and computers? What are the benefits and the risks?
Every month I write a future scenario to amaze, inspire, frighten and above all make you think about the increasing role of technology in our lives.
In this month’s scenario, I explore the use of brain implants to merge your mind with other people and machines.
Enjoy reading!
Peter
PS. Let me know what you think of the scenario! It is my ambition to become better at writing future scenarios, so every bit of feedback is greatly appreciated!

Scenario: Drone Symbiose Jetfigther
Alison has heard the stories. She learned that a guy she flirted with on a winter sports holiday in Austria had suffered a spinal cord injury a few years later and is now powering his exoskeleton with one of the early versions of the Liviu.
She has also trained with the Beta type, both in virtual reality combat simulations and in physical training. Using the Beta was bizarre, referring to the instant focus she got. She sometimes felt the concentration boosts nanoseconds before she needed it. As if the system could react and anticipate faster than her own biological cortex.
The latest release of Liviu is the neural interface type Foxtrot. “The Foxtrot was developed by Liviu in a special facility. Nobody besides their best engineers, and we know about this version”, says Pedro, her personal air force technician. Alison and the other jet pilots are already used to technologies that improve their capabilities, but this is next level.
“This is full integration between human, aircraft and the supporting drone swarm.” Alison knows about the theory from experts in artificial intelligence and warfare. Fully automated swarms of drones are the norm in air fights. However, the addition of the human element makes it more difficult for hostile algorithms to manoeuvre in air fights, because of the unpredictability, emotion and surprise of people. 
Alison is aware of the price to her identity. The Liviu Foxtrot needs to be inserted directly into her brain via a chip, to pick up the highest quality of brain signals. She is not worried about the operation; her concerns lay elsewhere. Will she still be Alison if she puts a piece of hardware from a company and the army, her employer, into her brain?
However, she is able to push the feeling away. The ecstasy of the Foxtrot takes care of that. She has felt one with her plane before, but with the implant she literally is. The vibrations on the wing hit her nervous system directly. This is what it is like to fly like a bird she thinks to herself.
And the swarm module, where she controls the drones with her thoughts, is even more powerful. It is as if her thoughts and intentions are linked to the twelve drones now whizzing around the plane.
Alison hears her colleague Ethan approaching her. He is flying thirty meters to her left. His Augmented Reality glasses – by which he sees visual information projected on the glasses – switch to transparent. They look at each other, he nods. Despite the distance, she can tell from his facial expression that he is nervous too.
The commander gives the signal: “Hive module activated.” When she hears those words, the feeling sets in. They had already trained so much together in virtual reality. Now, eight kilometers above the Nevada desert, she fuses together with Ethan. She can feel his thoughts, considerations and intentions; it is thrilling.
They are one entity: two fighter jets, two drone swarms and two connected brains.
The fifteen minutes fly by. Alison and Ethan follow the procedure to disconnect. This is weird, Alison thinks, and she realises Ethan notices the same thing. She presses the button to deactivate the module. Nothing. She tries it by using voice command and says: “Unpair Hive module.” She feels Ethan is trying this as well. Still nothing. She contacts the base station by radio. No reaction. Her heart rate increases. She can feel Ethan’s slight panic.
Then she feels they are not alone anymore. A third brain is in the Hive. It does not feel familiar; not American, and maybe not even human, but like a sort of artificial intelligence.
“Who is this?” She sends this question as a thought to Ethan and the other entity. Nothing. That is odd.
The third brain is growing in strength. It seems to slowly take control of the drones, of the fighter jets, and then of Alison’s thoughts. She screams. Alison looks to Ethan and also sees the panic in his eyes.
This is really bad.
My inspiration for this story comes from movies like Top Gun. I'm looking forward to Top Gun Maverick (in theaters now).
My inspiration for this story comes from movies like Top Gun. I'm looking forward to Top Gun Maverick (in theaters now).
In the writer's room
I wrote this short story as an assignment for the Clingendael Institute. The story is part of a longer article on brain-computer interfaces. In addition to Alison, I have also written short future stories about patient Dennie and stockbroker Olivia.
The story about Alison is far-reaching, but not far-fetched. One of the programs of the American agency DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3). The aim of this program is to develop non-invasive BCIs that can both analyze brain activity and send signals back.
One of the projects in the N3 program is how pilots can use their thoughts to control a swarm of drones (supported by artificial intelligence) and receive signals. Soldiers call this concept the “loyal wingman” as an analogy of jet pilots helping each other and providing cover.
In Alison’s story, she is asked if she is willing to implant a brain chip for this. This raises questions about ownership and identity. Will the chip soon be part of Alison? What happens to the implant when it is taken out of service? Will such an operation soon be a requirement to qualify for certain parts of military organizations? Does the chip change her personality? What are the consequences if the wearers of such an implant are hacked?
Brain implants are the ultimate form of a cyborg, the symbiosis of man and machine. In this video (17 minutes), I discuss 5 movies about cyborgs. With the important question: is the Terminator a cyborg?
Brain implants are the ultimate form of a cyborg, the symbiosis of man and machine. In this video (17 minutes), I discuss 5 movies about cyborgs. With the important question: is the Terminator a cyborg?
Into the Rabbithole
Articles, books, podcasts, videos, documentaries and more on this theme:
1) Read the entire article (including the stories about Dennie and Olivia) I wrote for the Clingendael Spectator: Preparing for the era of brain controlled machines.
2) In my (Dutch) book Supermens I write about Jeroen Perk. He is blind, but with camera glasses and an implant in his retina, he can see 60 pixels again. Unfortunately, the manufacturer Second Sight went bankrupt a few months ago. No more maintenance or updates for Jeroen and other carriers of this technology. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a warning about the use of internal technology. Meticulous reconstruction on IEEE Spectrum.
3) My girlfriend Susan and I have recently become addicted to the brilliant series Severance. The idea: on a voluntary basis, employees of a fictitious biotech company can have a chip inserted that creates a strict separation (severance) between office hours and free time. Wonderful: good acting, spectacular design & cool intro (by Extraweg).
Trailer of Severance. Highly recommended!
Trailer of Severance. Highly recommended!
Webinars & Keynotes
I give lectures (online and offline) about human augmentation, mega trends and health care innovation. These are upcoming events where I will give a talk or webinar, in Dutch or English. Great to see you there!
  • Keynote Plank Proudly Presents - May 2022
  • Keynote bdKo - June 2022
  • Keynote Verbindingsfestival Zwolle - July 2022
  • Webinar Digital Innovation in Mental Health - 19 July 2022 (English)
  • Keynote Topsprekers Zorgonderwijsvernieuwers - November 2022
  • Keynote Unica Hengelo - t.b.a. 2022
  • Keynote EDSN - t.b.a. 2022
At Brave New World (a great conference with an impressive line-up this year) I spoke about human augmentation, including neurotechnology such as brain implants. In this video, you can watch my talk.
At Brave New World (a great conference with an impressive line-up this year) I spoke about human augmentation, including neurotechnology such as brain implants. In this video, you can watch my talk.
Thank you
Thank you for reading! This newsletter is free, but not cheap to make.
You can help me in a number of ways: forward it to someone who likes it, subscribe to my YouTube-channel, hire me to speak, for a webinar, or consultancy. 😘
See you next month!
See you next month!
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Peter Joosten MSc.
Peter Joosten MSc. @PeterJoostenOrg

A monthly newsletter about human enhancement, biohacking and transhumanism. I share the latest news, in-depth pieces, and my own articles and videos. Website: https://www.peterjoosten.org

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