Pentagon Preps Mind Fields

Noah Shachtman in Wired News:

Screenhunter_11_mar_25_1649The idea — to grossly over-simplify — is that people have more than one kind of working memory, and more than one kind of attention; there are separate slots in the mind for things written, things heard and things seen. By monitoring how taxed those areas of the brain are, it should be possible to change a computer’s display, to compensate. If a person’s getting too much visual information, send him a text alert. If that person is reading too much at once, present some of the data visually — in a chart or map.

At Boeing Phantom Works, researchers are using AugCog technologies to design tomorrow’s cockpits. The military expects its pilots to someday control entire squads of armed robotic planes. But supervising all those drones may be too much for one human mind to handle unassisted.

Boeing’s prototype controller uses an fMRI to check just how overloaded a pilot’s visual and verbal memories are. Then the system adjusts its interface — popping the most important radar images up on the middle of the screen, suggesting what targets should be hit next and, eventually, taking over for the human entirely, once his brain becomes completely overwhelmed.

More here.