Title: The Social Implications of Implantables in the Military Sector

Presenters: Katina Michael & M.G. Michael

Abstract: The military sector has been investing in nanotechnology solutions since their inception. Internal assessment committees in defense programmatically determine how much complex technology will be systematically diffused into the Armed Forces. The broad term nanotechnology is used to encompass a variety of innovations from special paint markers that can determine unique identity to RFID implants in humans. With the purported demand for these new materials, we have seen the development of a fabrication process that has catapulted a suite of advanced technologies in the military marketplace. These technologies were once the stuff of science fiction- everything from exoskeletons to wearable headsets with accelerated night vision, to armaments that have increased in durability in rugged conditions with the ability to be commanded centrally and without human intervention. But what of the emergence of the so-named supersoldier, a type of Iron Man? This workshop will focus on humancentric implantable technologies in the military sector. The key questions it will seek to discuss with respect to implants include: (1) What are the social implications of new proposed security technologies? (2) What are the rights of soldiers who are contracted to the defense forces? (3) Does local military law override the rights provided under the rule of law in a given jurisdiction, and thus, what are the possible legal implications? (4) How pervasive are these technologies in society at large? (5) And what might be some of the side effects experienced by personnel in using these devices that have not yet been tested under conditions of war and conflict? More broadly the workshop seeks to understand the socio-ethical implications (community), social contract (individual), and stakeholder (industry/government) perspectives.

Relevant Stories:

DARPA Implants Chips In U.S. Soldiers' Brains:

Moving the power of thought: (2015)

Stentrode: (2015)

Jose Delgado Experiments in the 1960s:

Medtronics Patient Education for DBS Therapy for Dystonia:

DBS On/Off Demo: Walking:

Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy (Parts 1-4):

Transformers: The Ultimate Doom (Parts 1-3):

Katina Michael is a Professor and Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong, Australia. She is the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine editor-in-chief and also serves as the senior editor of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. Since 2008 Katina has been a board member of the Australian Privacy Foundation, and also served as Vice-Chair. Katina researches on the socio-ethical implications of emerging technologies. She has written and edited six books, guest edited a dozen special issue journals on themes related to radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, supply chain management, location-based services, innovation and surveillance and uberveillance. She has been published widely and was responsible for the creation of the human factors series of workshops hosted annually since 2006 on the “Social Implications of National Security”.

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MG Michael Ph.D. (ACU), M.A (Hons) (MacqUni), M.Theol (SydUni), B.Theol (SCD), B.A.(SydUni), DipProfCouns (AIPC) is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Information Systems and Technology at the University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia. Michael is a theologian and historian with cross-disciplinary qualifications in the humanities and who introduced the concept of überveillance into the privacy and bioethics literature. Michael brings with him a unique perspective to Emerging Technologies. His formal studies include Ancient History, Theology, General Philosophy, Political Sociology, Ethics, Linguistics, and Government. Michael is a member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and a life member of the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF). He has written and edited six books and guest edited 5 special issue journals, among them Prometheus, Journal of Location-Based Services and IEEE Technology & Society Magazine. In 2016, Michael is co-convenor of a workshop on brain implants in the military sector, which is part of the human factors series in national security, originally funded by the Australian Research Council.

Affiliation: School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong


Twitter: @katinamichael; #mgmichael #uberveillance