We all need a caffeine boost from time to time, but apparently the U.S. Army is planning to replace soldiers’ caffeine intake with electric shock therapy. According to the Boston Globe, caffeine is not enough to keep modern soldiers awake and alert, especially for soldiers who have to spend countless hours monitoring spy drone footage and other streams of surveillance data. Therefore, the Pentagon plans to use alternative methods like electric shock therapy to lengthen the troops’ attention spans and sharpen their reaction times.
While the idea of electric shock therapy sounds extremely controversial and a violation of human rights, the Pentagon only plans to use a low level of electricity to stimulate the soldiers’ brains. The concept is still in its experimental stages – at the moment, a research lab in Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force base has performed the procedure on a number of volunteers. According to the biomedical engineer of the project, ” we found that people who receive the stimulation are performing consistently.”
Due to the controversial aspect of electric shock therapy, this is bound to spark a debate between the public and government officials. On one hand, if the soldiers agree to use this method to stay awake, this may increase their efficiency and the overall defense of the country. Since the electricity levels used to stimulate the brain are at a safe level, this would not induce an excess amount of pain on the soldiers and will prove to be an effective method in maintaining alertness.
On the other hand, as electric shock therapy has a negative image from medical doctors abusing it to cure mental patients in the past, perhaps this is considered a form of torture and a violation of the soldiers’ well-being. Moreover, electric shock therapy comes with a number of side effects, such as memory loss and confusion. Besides, a cup o’ joe in the morning is much more pleasant to wake up to compared to a jolt of electric current surging through your body!