Human Augmentation – The Dawn of a New Paradigm

Human Augmentation – The Dawn of a New Paradigm

  • Bundeswehr Office for Defence Planning
  • Armed Forces
Date:

Since 2019 the Future Analysis Unit of the Bundeswehr Office for Defence Planning (BODP) has been working with the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) from United Kingdom on a Strategic Implication Project "Human Augmentation – The Dawn of a New Paradigm". The base of the collaborativ work was a cooperation agreement between the BODP and the DCDC.

Hands of robot and human touching on big data network connection background

Human Augmentation will become increasingly relevant in the future

iStock/ipopba

The Strategic Implication Project aimed to analyze what impact Human Augmentation will have on defence and security in the future. The time horizon considered was 30 years. Human Performance Augmentation is the application of science and technologies to temporarily or permanently improve human performance.

In order to develop as comprehensive as possible a picture for the future. Future perspectives in the areas of technology, society, politics, and economy were also examined in addition to defence and security and placed in a joint context. Also involved in the project were scientists from the Finnish and Swedish defence research institutes.

Key findings

  • Human Augmentation will become increasingly relevant in the future as a link between the unique capabilities of humans and machines. The winners of future wars will not be those with the most advanced technology, but those who can integrate the unique capabilities of humans and machines most effectively. The growing importance of human-machine teaming is already widely recognized, but this has been discussed mostly from a technology-centric perspective so far. The Strategic Implication Project represents the missing piece of the puzzle.
  • Successful application of Human Augmentation requires a more nuanced approach to generate understanding among potential users. To achieve this, it is necessary to define key principles that represent the human platform. These should be on a physical, a psychological, and a social level.
  • Human Augmentation technologies offer a wide range of capabilities today and in future. There are mature technologies that could be integrated today with manageable policy considerations. The most transformative technologies are currently at a relatively low level of maturity, but society must be prepared for this to change.
  • The ethical and legal implications of Human Augmentation are difficult to predict, but early and regular engagement with these issues is core to success. There may be an increasing moral obligation to provide people with access to Human Augmentation in the future, at least in cases where it will lead to improved health and general welfare.
  • Human Augmentation may lead to fundamentally new concepts of warfare. Over the next 30 years, it is possible that individual soldiers will be able to achieve increased or more diverse operational effects that will have implications for our force structure, equipment program, and doctrine.

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