The Potential of Transhuman Soldiers


After discovering an online article published in the US Atlantic magazine discussing the developments of genetically modified organisms and the ways it will affect the military and law. The article entitled ‘More Than Human? The Ethics of Biologically Enhancing Soldiers’ focuses on the military’s intentions in forming ‘super soldiers’. The original report from The Royal Society website, ‘Brain Waves 3: Neuroscience, conflict and security’, which inspired the article looks at the effect of neuroscience on the future potential of military and law.

The report discusses the way in which the developments will improve the efficiency of ones own forces. The technology has the potential to optimize recruitment, the training and action performance, and improve rehabilitation and treatment of the injured. The neuroscientist however, must be aware of the effect their technologies can have, when misused they may be harmful. The development of “performance degrading applications seek to diminish the performance of one’s enemy” such as chemical weapons must adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention as discussed at the Review Conference of 2013.

The article published the Atlantic expresses the report as not going far enough in discussing the ethical and social implications. I believe from my findings and in agreeance with the article that these human advancements will be far more extreme.

Although many of the innovations are external devices, such as the exoskeleton, permitting soldiers to run faster and handle extreme weights, the technology of genetically modified humans is growing in its militarily focus. With the potential of eventually developing transhuman soldiers the ethical implications of upgrading the basic human condition is controversial. Although we have the potential to produce a solider that is numb to the pain of torture, is it ethical to do so? Is it ethical to reduce the amount of sleep and food the ordinary solider requires?


The Royal Society. 2012. Brain Waves 3: Neuroscience, conflict and securit. Website. Available at: (Accessed 2 July 13)

The Atlantic. 2012. More Than Human? The Ethics of Biologically Enhancing Soldiers. Website. Available at: (Accessed 2 July 13)


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