Drones, Lethal Cyborg Insects, See-Shoot Robots — How Machines Are Taking Over War

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
By Paul Martin

Barbara Ehrenreich: 12,000 Drones, Lethal Cyborg Insects, See-Shoot Robots — How Machines Are Taking Over War
How far will the automation of war and the substitution of autonomous robots for human fighters go?

AlterNet.org
July 10, 2011

Last week, William Wan and Peter Finn of the Washington Post reported that at least 50 countries have now purchased or developed pilotless military drones. Recently, the Chinese had more than two dozen models in some stage of development on display at the Zhuhai Air Show, some of which they are evidently eager to sell to other countries.

So three cheers for a thoroughly drone-ified world. In my lifetime, I’ve repeatedly seen advanced weapons systems or mind-boggling technologies of war hailed as near-utopian paths to victory and future peace (just as the atomic bomb was soon after my birth). Include in that the Vietnam-era, “electronic battlefield,” President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (aka “Star Wars”), the “smart bombs” and smart missiles of the first Gulf War, and in the twenty-first century, “netcentric warfare,” that Rumsfeldian high-tech favorite.

You know the results of this sort of magical thinking about wonder weapons (or technologies) just as well as I do. The atomic bomb led to an almost half-century-long nuclear superpower standoff/nightmare, to nuclear proliferation, and so to the possibility that someday even terrorists might possess such weapons. The electronic battlefield was incapable of staving off defeat in Vietnam.

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