Remote Control War Now and in the Future

Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor with a talking filibuster against John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director. The filibuster, which lasted nearly 13 hours, was prompted by Attorney General Eric. H. Holder Jr.’s refusal to rule out drone strikes within the United States. For more on this story, see Rand Paul launches talking filibuster against John Brennan (Washington Post, March 6, 2013).

The rise of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, and other remotely controlled and increasingly autonomous robotics in the military has been making headlines in recent weeks. For a look into the subject, check out:

1. Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-first Century / P.W. Singer (2009)
Description: “We are just beginning to see a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make the stuff of I,Robot and the Terminator all too real. More than seven- thousand robotic systems are now in Iraq. Pilots in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan. Scientists are debating just how smart—and how lethal—to make their current robotic prototypes. And many of the most renowned science fiction authors are secretly consulting for the Pentagon on the next generation. Blending historic evidence with interviews from the field, Singer vividly shows that as these technologies multiply, they will have profound effects on the front lines as well as on the politics back home.”–Publisher

2. Remote Control War (Documentary, 2011)
Description: “The current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan comprise the world’s first Robotic War. From almost none when it invaded Iraq, the U.S. fleet has grown to 7,000 robots in the air and 12,000 on the ground. 43 other countries are now using robots in combat. But robots only have the ethics that they are programmed with, and human/robot wars raise many ethical questions. Does the ability to kill anyone, anywhere with a robot amount to lawlessness? What about when robots decide who to kill? Will having no casualties make going to war too easy? Very soon all sides will have access to remote control weapons. Will robots be the suicide bombers of the future? Robotic war is here. From today’s CIA drone strikes to the next generation of armed autonomous robot swarms, killer robots are about to change our world.”–Distributor

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