Out of control

EDITORIAL: While states eagerly invest in autonomous weapons and employ drones more frequently, we should ask ourselves if we understand the long-term consequences.
Truls Lie
Editor-in-chief, Modern Times Review
Published date: August 1, 2019

As the drone that the US sent into Iranian territory last month was shot down, it was exploited politically by the Americans in accordance with their tendency to exacerbate the military-industrial madness worldwide. As it now stands, the world has become a more dangerous place to live. They have succeeded in provoking Iran to commence enriching uranium for nuclear arms. The Earth can already be devastated in about 7-8 minutes.

But this is not my point when I choose the title «Out of Control». In a public and mental environment where the act of taking offence is ubiquitous – a tendency eagerly supported by the mass media – people constantly search for new enemies. And with a sufficient number of enemies or «terrorists» lurking around every corner, the expenditure of a dizzying 1600 billion dollars pr. year is spent to keep the military industry going. In such a climate new weapon systems are constantly developed, such as unmanned drones.


For example, the time where spies swam ashore from submarines is soon to be over. Drones take their place. The American Marine Force has developed Heterogeneous Collaborative Unmanned Systems (HCUS), releasing one or more drones («encapsulated payload» from the submarines. Or schools of underwater drones are left hovering in the water, waiting for orders – to acoustically identify enemy warships and submarines.

As The Economist mentioned on July 22., the drones – maybe the next one over Iran – be able to release a series of solar-panel fueled sensors, disguised as stones, which will report back information from their cameras and microphones from their various positions, and who may also listen in on radio traffic and local signals.

Presumably, drones will be produced that will be self-sufficient, supplying themselves and arming themselves – to repeat their actions. Swarms of drones will also be able to cooperate and adjust to new situations – in the ongoing battle between machine and human.

We are already familiar with how unmanned armed drones, (like BlackWing) can obliterate vehicles, local arsenals or selected individuals. In contrast to living spies who may suffer capture and interrogation, drones are cheap «consumer products», whose origin is hard to trace.


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