Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Neurowarfare and the Law

Mindhacks has a post up that links to a paper entitled 'Brave New World: Neurowarfare and the Limits of International Humanitarian Law' (PDF link). The Mindhacks post begins:

A new generation of military technology interfaces directly with the brain to target and trigger weapons before our conscious mind is fully engaged.

In a new article in the Cornell International Law Journal, lawyer Stephen White asks whether the concept of a 'war crime' becomes irrelevant if the unconscious mind is pulling the trigger.

In most jurisdictions, the legal system makes a crucial distinction between two elements of a crime: the intent (mens rea) and the action (actus rea).

Causing something dreadful to happen without any intent or knowledge is considered an accident and not a crime. Hence, a successful prosecution demands that the accused is shown to have intended to violate the law in some way.

The post finishes with this statement:
The first preconscious war may soon be upon us.


Dan tdaxp said...

What if they unconsciously intended it?

It's not as crazy as it sounds...


G said...

Hey dan, that is an interesting looking paper. I'll have to have a read sometime.

You are right, they may unconsciously intend it. The legal consequences in that case would probably decide on the reinterpretations of intent.