With the objective to predict and pre-empt the emergence of political violence, the US Department of Defence (DoD) has devoted increasing attention to the intersection between neurobiology and artificial intelligence. Concepts such as ‘cognitive biotechnologies’, ‘digital biosecurity’ and large-scale collection of ‘neurodata’ herald a future in which neurobiological intervention on a global scale is believed to come of age. This article analyses how the relationship between neurobiology and AI – between the human and the machine – is conceived, made possible, and acted upon within the SMA programme, an interdisciplinary research programme sponsored by the DoD. By showcasing the close intersection between the computer sciences and the neurosciences within the US military, the article questions descriptions of algorithmic governmentality as decentring the human, and as juxtaposed to biopolitical techniques to regulate processes of subjectivity. The article shows that within US military discourse, new biotechnologies are seen to engender algorithmic governmentality a biopolitical dimension, capable of monitoring and regulating emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and subjectivity on population level, particularly targeting the minds and brains of ‘vulnerable’ populations in the global South.

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