The committee’s literature search relied on published, unclassified work, available in the English language. However, it is likely that much research in this field is not being published or is not available in English, and may be classified. The committee did receive briefings from multiple foreign researchers and did discuss foreign priorities, but this partial information did not provide a definitive picture of either U.S. or foreign government priority setting and policy in research on human performance modification (Task 2).
As an interesting aside, the committee noted that in keeping with previous trends associated with science fiction serving as an inspiration for research and development efforts, today’s research appears to be strongly influenced by contemporary entertainment products, including movies, books, games, and anime. In particular, the committee noted that such concepts as the Borg from the Star Trek1 series were invoked as referents during several of the data-collection efforts, as were the X-Men2 and the Terminator3 from the movies of the same name. However, the committee also noted that such science fiction creates many false impressions of what science might be capable of allowing humans to perform. In addition to reviewing academic peerreviewed literature, the committee and staff also put significant effort into researching popular science and considering the efficacy of the reported results against basic scientific limitations. This research and the committee’s observations are presented in Appendix D.
Chapter 2 discusses several topics under the general heading of human cognitive modification as a computational problem, including applications of augmented reality. Chapter 3 explores two aspects of HPM viewed as a biological problem: human tissue engineering and fatigue research. Several topics under the general heading of HPM as a function of the braincomputer interface, including applications of nanotechnology, are discussed in Chapter 4.
Appendixes A-C provide committee biographies, a list of meetings and presenters, and a list of acronyms, respectively. Important contextual issues affecting technology development are discussed in Appendix D, including relevant differences in cultures and value systems among technology developers, technology ecosystem requirements, and the identification of required scientific or technological breakthroughs.
1Paramount Pictures, Star Trek: First Contact, 1996.