The French military has been granted permission to develop augmented troops by an ethics committee tasked with evaluating the issue.
Bionic humans, augmented with technology, have been a major feature of science fiction for decades. The Six Million Dollar Man was a popular TV show about a USAF Colonel given bionic limbs, implants and abilities following a test flight crash.
While many prosthetics focus on restoring lost functionality, technology is reaching the point where such prosthetics may go beyond restoration, squarely into the realm of improvement. High-tech prosthetics may be able to enhance a soldier’s strength, cognition, speed and more, not to mention offer built-in connectivity and other electronic abilities. Augments could even help a soldier deal with pain from injuries, or resist enhanced interrogation.
According to CNN, French armed forces minister Florence Parly ruled out any “invasive” augmentations. The ethics committee also ruled out any modifications that inhibit a soldier’s ability to control their own strength, or anything that desensitizes their “humanity.”
Much of France’s approach seems geared more toward keeping pace with potential threats than wholesale adoption.
“But we have to be clear, not everyone has the same scruples as us and we have to prepare ourselves for such a future,” Parly said in a press release.