Could Soldiers Be Prosecuted for Thought Crime?

by admin on May 1, 2008


The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding a number of technologies that tap into the brain’s ability to detect threats before the conscious mind is able to process the information. Already, there is Pentagon-sponsored work on using the brain’s pattern detection capabilities for enhanced goggles and super-fast satellite imagery analysis. What happens, however, when the Pentagon ultimately uses this enhanced capability for targeting weapons?

This question has led Stephen White to write a fascinating article exploring the implications of a soldiers’ legal culpability for weapons that may someday tap into this “pre-conscious” brain activity. Like the Minority Report notion of “pre-crime,” where someone is convicted for contemplating a criminal act they haven’t yet acted upon, this article raises the intriguing question of whether a soldier could be convicted for the mistake made by a pre-conscious brain wave.…more

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