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Interrogation Tactics/ Bioenhancement

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Interrogation Tactics/ Bioenhancement

Show Archive
Date: Thursday - March 13, 2014
Host: George Noory
Guests: Eric Leuthardt, Bob McCarty

In the first half, journalist Bob McCarty detailed his extensive research into the federal government's use of outdated polygraph technology as a tool of interrogation rather than more effective methods. McCarty traced his interest in the topic back to a 2008 article about the Pentagon buying 94 portable polygraph devices to be used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Intrigued as to how well these devices worked, his requests for more information from the government were met with stall tactics and vague responses. Ultimately, after a four-year investigation, McCarty determined that he'd uncovered a "turf war" over interrogation tactics, where "polygraph loyalists" were using their power in government to eliminate the use of more modern and effective technologies.

McCarty shared an account of this "turf war" taking place at Guantanamo Bay. After a highly successful test of Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) technology, he said, higher ups within the Department of Defense insisted that they stop using it and resume working with polygraph machines instead. McCarty also cited a 2007 memo from James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, which declared that only polygraph technology could be used by the Department of Defense. Ultimately, McCarty suggested that this "turf war" is being driven by polygraph experts attempting to maintain their market share in the interrogation industry regardless of how much more effective CVSA has proven to be or the risks associated with using the outdated technology.

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In the latter half, neurosurgeon and biomedical engineer, Dr. Eric Leuthardt MD, discussed the latest technological advances which are boosting human capability beyond our wildest dreams. Initially, he said, bioenhancement is likely to be focused on the injured or invalid, such as nueroprosthetics which will allow for amputees to control artificial limbs via their brain, a development he sees coming to fruition within the next five to ten years. Leuthardt also suggested that, in 15 years, implanted chips could used to replace missing or damaged parts of the brain. Beyond the restorative aspects, he surmised that as nanotechnology and artificial intelligence evolves, outright augmentation of human mental abilities will become both possible and quite simple to achieve. "That's where I think it starts to get amazing," he mused, "and also scary."

Leuthardt observed that the merging of humans and machines creates both positive and negative outcomes for the species. While humans will be able to perform heretofore unimaginable feats, such as downloading memories, augmented people will also "gain the vulnerabilities of a machine," such as privacy intrusions and technological attacks by nefarious forces. Leuthardt also expressed concern that human augmentation may result in an amplification of the class divide between the rich and the poor. Additionally, he predicted a social debate over whether bioenhancement is a "divine representation of our evolutionary destiny" or a violation of our natural human state.

News segment guests: James Sanders, David Seaman, and Mish Shedlock

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