The UK’s The Guardian reported yesterday on a paper by the British scientific body The Royal Society notes that current research in neuroscience has many implications for military technology and ethics that haven’t been fully considered yet.

One of the technologies discussed is the Brain Machine Interface (BMI), a technoligy currently allowing users to control prosthetic limbs through brain signals, which could be applied to controlling weapon systems, either on the battlefield or remotely. As one of the paper’s authors writes, “If you are controlling a drone and you shoot the wrong target or bomb a wedding party, who is responsible for that action? Is it you or the BMI? There’s a blurring of the line between individual responsibility and the functioning of the machine. Where do you stop and the machine begin?”

This is an interesting question, though I’m not sure that there would be any distinction between a drone operator using a joystick and using a BMI to engage a target. Presumably in either case, responsibility stops with the human operator, whether it’s a finger or a neural impulse that pulls the trigger.

An interesting field of development to watch in the next decade, to be sure.