Weaponising neurotechnology: international humanitarian law and the loss of language


In recent years, research on military applications of neuroscience has grown in sophistication, raising the question as to whether states using weapon systems that draw on neuroscience are capable of applying international humanitarian law (IHL) to that use. I argue that neuroweapons largely eliminate the role of language in targeting, render unstable the distinction between superior and subordinate, and ultimately disrupt the premise of responsibility under IHL. I conclude that it is impossible to assess whether future uses of these weapons will be lawful under IHL.

I shall start this account with Leif, a 73-year old farmer from the municipality of Markaryd in Southern Sweden. In the winter of 2012, I spent a week with him at Lund University Hospital, where we both successfully underwent surgery: 6 days in a four-bed ward in a large department on the 11th floor of the Western wing of the Hospital’s central building, and a 48-hour cycle in the operation theatre and intensive care unit. Leif suffers from Parkinson’s disease. I think ‘suffers’ is more than a figure of speech here. When he was off his usual medication in conjunction with his surgery, I could perceive quite literally how the return of Parkinson’s tremor imposed suffering of unmitigated violence on him...


No comments:

Post a Comment