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Darpa’s Magic Plan: ‘Battlefield Illusions’ to Mess With Enemy Minds

• www.wired.com

Arthur C. Clarke once famously quipped that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” So perhaps it was inevitable that the Pentagon’s extreme technology arm would eventually start acting like magicians — and try to create illusions on the front lines.

In its new budget, unveiled on Monday, Darpa introduced a new $4 million investigation into technologies that will “manage the adversary’s sensory perception” in order to “confuse, delay, inhibit, or misdirect [his] actions.” Darpa calls the project “Battlefield Illusion.” Of course.

“The current operational art of human-sensory battlefield deception is largely an ad-hoc practice,” the agency sighs as it lays out the project’s goals. But if researchers can better understand “how humans use their brains to process sensory inputs,” the military should be able to develop “auditory and visual” hallucinations that will “provide tactical advantage for our forces.

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