A report published Tuesday by the French Military Ethics Committee has indicated that the country has begun to develop technology for bionically enhanced soldiers. The report discussed conditions in which devices like implants can be used to improve soldier performance on the battlefield.
“Human beings have long sought ways to increase their physical or cognitive abilities in order to fight wars. Possible advances could ultimately lead to capacity enhancements being introduced into soldiers’ bodies,” the report said, according to the BBC.
The report said that maintaining clear ethical lines would be important in the development of bionic soldiers.
The report called for eugenic or genetic applications of the technology to be banned, as well as anything “that could jeopardise the soldier’s integration into society or return to civilian life”.
The country’s military leaders believe that it is necessary to develop this technology because not doing so would allow other countries to get ahead and gain a military advantage.
In a speech last week, Defence Minister Florence Parly, said that the country’s military doesn’t plan on developing anything extremely “invasive” right away, but said that this could be an option in the future because other countries will be pushing the technology as far as they can.
“We must face the facts. Not everyone shares our scruples and we must be prepared for whatever the future holds,” Parly said.
Parly went on to promise that the French government would seek to find a balance, and will find “ways to maintain our operational superiority without turning our backs on our values.”
Parly also pointed out that similar technologies, such as neural implants, have already been introduced to civilian fields without much controversy.
Intelligence officials in the United States have suggested that the Chinese military has conducted biological tests on its soldiers in hopes of creating an army of enhanced supersoldiers.
The disturbing claim was made in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial written by John Ratcliffe, Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence.
In his article, Ratcliffe claimed that “The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically. Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Ratcliffe suggested that the Chinese government has “no ethical boundaries.”
“US intelligence shows that China has even conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities. There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power,” Ratcliffe wrote.
His assertions are likely based on a paper that was published by American researchers last year that looked into China’s use of biological technology for military applications.According to Mint, Elsa Kania, one of the authors of the paper, said that the Chinese government was using CRISPR gene-editing technology to enhance soldiers.