Monday, February 26, 2018

DARPA Wants to Genetically Modify Marine Creatures to Track Enemy Targets in the Sea

Of course they do.

From the Maritime Herald:
The US Army wants something we have already seen in literature: to enlist an “army” of sea creatures to help them track enemy submarines in the sea. The Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors program could also modify existing species to make them better spies.

To be more specific, behind this controversial program that has already encountered strong opposition from activist groups, DARPA, currently the research and development wing of the Pentagon, is located. The agency explained a few days ago through its website what PALS was about:
It is a program that will study natural and modified organisms to determine which can better support the sensor systems that detect the movement of unmanned and unmanned submarine vehicles.

Therefore, the idea is to record marine life, from bacteria, plankton and coral, to fish and mammals, which react in some way to the presence of nearby boats or targets. For DARPA, those reactions represent valuable data. ” The program simply plans to observe the natural and unique behaviors of marine organisms in the presence of targets of interest, and process that data to provide an alert.”
If the military can develop a system to detect the reactions of marine life to passing ships, in theory it could monitor all the world’s oceans in search of enemy activity, and do it more economically and effectively than with purely artificial sensors. According to DARPA.

Beyond pure ubiquity, sensor systems built around living organisms would offer a number of advantages over hardware alone....