Posts Tagged ‘Robot warfare’

Flying killer robots over Pakistan

April 6, 2011

Double click to enlarge.

A war fought with remotely-controlled flying killer robots is nonetheless a war.  This kind of war creates a dangerous illusion of impunity.  Somebody in a trailer park in Nevada operates flying drones in Afghanistan or Pakistan that kill people in Afghanistan or Pakistan, including, inevitably, innocent civilians.  That person, unlike a warrior on a battlefield, may expect to never suffer any personal consequences.  But many of the would-be terrorist attacks have been in retaliation for killings by robot drones.  Sooner of later one such attack will succeed.

Remember that candidate Barack Obama stated during the 2008 presidential deabtes that he would use flying drones to attack Taliban and al Qaeda locations in Pakistan, to which candidate John McCain said attacks on the territory of a sovereign ally were a bad idea.

Obama’s campaign adviser on this issue was P.W. Singer, whose groundbreaking 2009 book, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st century, made him a prophet of robot warfare, which he said is only in its infancy.  We should not be surprised that President Obama makes such extensive use of robot drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Libya.

Robot technology offers many advantages, such as for surveillance and transportation, but it is dangerous if we think we can substitute machines for warriors. We cause our enemies to think we are not only cruel but cowardly; they not only hate but despise us.