The nightmare scenario of autonomous drones raining terror from the skies comes into sharper focus as 60 Minutes does a story about a Department of Defense test showing the successful test of a swarm of drones completing a series of tests on their own. The piece covers advancements in drone weapons technology not only in the air but on the ground and at sea.
I can think of nothing more terrifying than the high-pitched buzz of as 100 drones descending upon you in hot pursuit. The head of the program, Dr. Will Roper says in the video above, “It does feel like a plague of locusts.”
I’ve written about the dangers of autonomous drones before:
The video concludes to say that the Perdix autonomous drone program could become operational as early as this year.
I wrote back in June about Autonomous Robotic Weapons and the fear that SciFi writer Daniel Suarez had that these would one day be built and what could go wrong.
Looks like it’s real.
In the recruitment video above, the Air Force invites future cadets to work with them on creating a network of autonomous quadroters that can work without human intervention.
“The objective of this project is to code a system that allows this quadroter to think and act autonomously.”
This is precisely what Daniel Suarez warned about. By designing drones that operate autonomously, you start down the road towards a world where the decision to cause war & violence are pushed away from humans. Daniel lists three powerful factors that cause this shift,
- The deluge of video footage will overwhelm ability for humans to analyse so that, “drones will tell humans what to look at.”
- Electromagnetic jamming by the enemy means that drones will be required to act on their own and not be piloted by humans. Drones will know their objective and react to external circumstances on their own, ignoring incoming radio signals, friendly or not.
- Plausible deniability because drones are made from commodity materials that can be procured by anyone, even a criminal gang.
Suarez’s latest book, Kill Decision is about this very topic and this latest news shows that his nightmare scenario is a very real possibility.