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The Limits of Dual Use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


King's Authors


Debates and regulations over the military application of scientific discoveries and technologies developed for civilian benefits have conventionally been framed in terms of ‘dual use’. In this article, we argue that the term ‘dual use’ is both limiting and misleading - it assumes a simple distinction between civilian and military domains, while today these boundaries are blurred. We suggest instead that policy makers and regulators need to identify and focus on specific harmful or undesirable uses in four domains: political, security, intelligence and military (PSIM). We consider the ways that neuroscience research provides knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be utilised in these PSIM domains, and which therefore needs to be considered by those funding, undertaking, developing or regulating research and development in neuroscience, neurotechnology and neurorobotics.

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