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The SciFi Navy of 2030

January 6, 2010
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From the Navy Times comes a story that would warm the heart of any science fiction fan. It’s cool – very cool. FYI – maybe we’d better not diss the kid who does all that texting?

“...And the devices that affect sailors the most may be those that receive little attention beyond the Navy.

For example, new paints and coatings will reduce maintenance needs for some machinery. And safety devices — like next-generation hearing protection — may eliminate some occupational risks.

Surgical enhancements may be commonplace. In the 1990s, aviators began getting LASIK surgery to correct vision problems. In the future, special warfare troops may get surgery that improves their night vision.

Meanwhile, the way sailors use tomorrow’s technology may move beyond today’s joysticks, keyboards and computer screens, said Peter Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of “Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.”

“That could be very simple. Take the vibrator on your cell phone: You don’t hear it — you feel it,” Singer said.

He also talked about advancements in neuroscience that allow the brain to control devices directly. Doctors have learned how to wire the brain to control computer cursors or even prosthetic limbs. In the future, a skullcap with sensors may allow a user to translate thoughts into actions and operations, Singer said.

Perhaps the hardest thing to predict is the cultural dynamics that will define the future of the Navy and its leadership.

“Somewhere out there, the future CNO is probably a Hannah Montana fan who is reading vampire books. They’ve never experienced the Cold War — it is almost meaningless to them,” Singer said.

“Sometimes we have a tendency to put ourselves in that future,” he said. “But then you realize that the kid texting underneath the dinner table is going to be the leader in that period.”…”

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