April 3, 2014
The Pentagon’s advanced research wing has announced its latest budget — and whoa, does DARPA ever have some ambitious plans for the future. Their new Biotech unit will be harnessing biology for national security, and dealing with everything from stopping plagues to building synthetic soldiers.
DARPA’s commitment to cutting-edge innovation is unquestioned. The very essence of the defense agency is to make sure that U.S. military technology is more sophisticated than that of the nation’s rivals. Among its many current initiatives, DARPA is working on advanced robotics, an artificial human brain, next-gen robotic aircraft, advanced prosthetics, and self-teaching computers (if anyone’s going to build a recursively improving AI it’s going to be DARPA).
In addition to these projects, DARPA has been busy at work on various biotechnology-related endeavors, but these attempts to date have lacked cohesion and focus. Looking to change this, DARPA has announced the creation of its Biological Technologies Office (BTO)— an effort to “explore the the increasingly dynamic intersection of biology and the physical sciences.” The new division will expand upon its Defense Sciences (DSO) and Microsystems Technology (MTO) Offices.