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Robot Wars, Machines go to War, Humans Beware

Predator drone

Unmanned systems at war include the Predator drone each one costing $4.5 million, made of composite material which ensures it is lightweight. Predators operate from an allied country in the Persian Gulf and are controlled by operators in Arizona, California, New York, North Dakota and Texas. Drones such as Ravens, Global Hawk spy drone and terrestrial unmanned drones, such as Warrior, Marcbot and Talon save lives by deactivating Improvised Explosive Devices, a strong jet of water disables most devices. Robotic devices armed with machine guns in the air or on land are effective in killing insurgents, yet, when arrest, charge and conviction is dispensed with these are extra-judicial killings. The reputation of the US is compromised with the US labelled a major killer of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan with gatherings for weddings a particular target. There is no guiding pattern, no guiding vision. There is an insurmountable intellectual battle between US technology and insurgents. Equally, a private controlling a drone may be under orders from a remote commander, thereby reducing the efficacy/ranking in the overall command structure.

Today's US F35 fighter jet pilot must qualify on a T38 training plane, requiring six months, then are trained in the specifics of the F35, another year and training is not yet finished, he will spend one year as wingman to an experienced pilot. These years ensure the US Air Force invests $10 in training an F35 fighter jet pilot. A raven drone requires only one hour to learn to fly. When something goes wrong with a drone, Pakistani civilians believe it is planned malice. The law may not remain silent.

Global Hawk spy drone

Moore's Law, the founder of Intel, noticed the number of transistors on a microchip was doubling every two years, leading to faster and faster chips. Moore predicted that this simple doubling factor would encourage more powerful computers and lead to automated cars. This shapes the world of robots and war. Eventually, the sum total of human brainpower would be diminished compared to supercomputers capable of 20 billion calculations per second. Computers compute, i.e. they iterate (adding/calculating), computers are not human they do not think like human, in fact, computers think differently - Alan Turing, 1952.

Super computers are now capable of operating a C-130 cargo plane which launches and recovers drones in a fraught time when foreign nations refuse to host US bases ashore, fearing reprisals. Swarms of self organising drones are mimicing bees allowing individual drones to engage in complex behaviour, which then march to the sound of guns and engage the enemy.

The defeat of Israel, militarily, by the amorphous Hezbollah during their 34 day war in 1996, was a non-state actor capable of figuring out asymmetric strategies to counter the Israeli state's massive advantage of force and size, even beating Israel at its own high-technology game. Hezbollah prepared itself better for a war against military superiority than any other military organisation of our time.

The US is losing its status as the beacon of freedom, robots undermine US moral standing whilst losing their humanity. In 1984 George Orwell wrote about an oblique reference to 'the war' as though it had no bearing on daily life. Ordinary people did not know who they were fighting.

Julian Assange used Bradley Manning who released computer files of US covert operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan

for this self publicist's selfish purposes. Edward Snowden, currently trapped in Moscow, followed his conscience and released confidential US files fully monitoring of US citizens private lives. The latter has consequences up to the present day.

Source: Sunday Times; Irish Times, Pentagon research.


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