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Air Force Planning New Drone Fleet For Pakistan

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the hunter-killers dept.

Robotics 240

mattnyc99 writes "With tensions high on the border, a new commander in Afghanistan, and complaints of civilian deaths from robotic US strikes in Pakistan raising anti-American sentiment, the Air Force is sketching out concepts for new robotic hitmen, reports Esquire.com. Among the new drones (which are all very small) are the Suburb Warrior (loaded with four or five mini missiles for semi-urban environments), the Sniper targeting system ("that can lock on to multiple targets, allowing a single drone pilot to coordinate the attacks of a squadron of robots"), and a backup fleet of flying buggies that act as suicide-bomber snipers. From the article: 'Picking through the dozens of systems in this briefing, many of which will be flight-tested within five years, there's a clear set of goals: build smaller, even microscopic drones with smaller weapons that can hunt in swarms and engage targets in the close quarters of urban battlefields. And hunt as soon as possible.'"

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240 comments

Esquire the Magazine. (3, Interesting)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367337)

Esquire.com top 3 stories:
This one.
The greatest karaoke song of all time.
How the american man "really" spends his day.

Not sure that I would put all my magical beans into that lone basket.

Re:Esquire the Magazine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367361)

Really, it's not like a reference to Jane's.

Oh well, where is that tin hat.

Re:Esquire the Magazine. (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367431)

Yes I was a little off topic, but I was making a point about the reference without a second reference. Otherwise I thought the article was rather good and informed.

However, a second reference which were to collaborate the esquire.com article might have been in order since I'm not sure that esquire.com has anybody on staff that one could call informed in the field.

FIST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367359)

Why is this red?

This can only be a prelude (1)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367367)

Skynet.

I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367383)

War is just a silly game of 'who runs out of soldiers first' played between two governments. If soldiers can be replaced by robots I'm all for it

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367413)

The more "harmless" wars start to look, the easier it will be for politicians to convince the public to go to war. Look at how itchy a trigger finger our "all volunteer" army has given US Presidents. "What do I care? It's not MY kid."

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (5, Insightful)

CosmicRabbit (1505129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367511)

Besides robots don't have feelings. They don't ever testify about the horrors of war, refuse to commit atrocities when ordered to do so, or have to deal with PTSD afterward.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367717)

"refuse to commit atrocities when ordered to do so"

robots follow their programming. Wwhen they get the command to commit atrocities, they will do so without any hesitation, because machines do not hesitate.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367925)

they will do so without any hesitation, because machines do not hesitate.

Unless they run on Microsoft :)

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368207)

I don't believe it.How the fuck does Microsoft bashing fit here?

It's like the thread was Godwinned - only different. Maybe we can call it 'Ballmering' when a story not even related to computing is used as a chance to bash Microsoft.

Maybe you should see a doctor about that. ;-)

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

rhiorg (213355) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368413)

You say that like it's a bad thing! Talk about the next Killer App!

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368451)

I think moral judgements should be done objectively, by people strategically thinking about how to minimize damage, not by people in the heat of the moment who refuse to shoot at a civilian but are perfectly fine with interrupting their food supply and killing hundreds of people that way.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368791)

They don't ever testify about the horrors of war, refuse to commit atrocities when ordered to do so, or have to deal with PTSD afterward.

Except these aren't robots - they're remote controlled. The controllers do see the horrors of war and can get PTSD even though their lives were not at risk. And ordering these remote controlled UAVs to commit atrocities seems like a way to make sure the court martial finds you guilty - their sensor input can probably be recorded for evidence.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368851)

Besides terrorists don't have feelings. They don't ever testify about the horrors of war, refuse to commit atrocities when ordered to do so, or have to deal with PTSD afterward.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367723)

This argument is a slippery slope; taken to its logical extreme, it would support the idea that the only kind of war should be total war of extermination, as bloody and brutal as possible. Unless you're willing to argue for that, if you want to draw the line somewhere in the middle, you'll have to argue for that specific position - using some other arguments.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Funny)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367809)

Or the other option is we could stop killing each other. Of course, then we'd have to think of something else to talk about on TV.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367849)

Or the other option is we could stop killing each other.

Sure we could. But I don't trust you, so I'm gonna have to ask you to drop the gun first. Once you do that, I'll drop my own, too... I promise! Honest!

to stop killing each other (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368521)

all you have to do is:

1. stop people believing in something
2. stop people from having passions in their beliefs

war and love are permanent aspects of mankind, two sides of a coin. you can't have one without the other. both are immutable unavoidable implications of having passion in something. we will never stop waging war, or love, as long as we exist as a species

Re:to stop killing each other (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368935)

1. stop people believing in something

The only thing you have to stop people from believing in is their right to impose their beliefs on others. Whether it be Islamists trying to convert the world into a Sharia state, or the U.S. trying to 'help' foreign countries be democratic, no good comes of meddling in others' affairs. Sadly it's one of the most basic human endeavours.

you can't stop that (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368957)

as long as human beings exist, someone somewhere will be trying to impose their beliefs on someone else. nothing will ever stop such people from continuously being reborn in every generation

it is a constant struggle to subdue those who would impose on you. thus, there will always be war

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Interesting)

tbischel (862773) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367757)

The more "harmless" wars start to look, the easier it will be for politicians to convince the public to go to war.

One could argue that the opposite has been seen over the past century, as mobilization of antiwar sentiment happens earlier and earlier over the course of progressively less costly wars (in terms of American casualties). I would argue that the effects of mass media far out-trump an effective military when it comes to gaining popular support.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (4, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367887)

"Look at how itchy a trigger finger our "all volunteer" army has given US Presidents. "What do I care? It's not MY kid."

That statement ignores the many and frequent interventions, wars, and military actions before the advent of the Volunteer Force. Google ye some Smedley Butler for examples. :)

There isn't evidence that the politicians sending the military to war don't care about the troops, even if they mismanage them sometimes due to situational ignorance. The military itself during the pre-volunteer days often treated troops badly, and now that it must compete for recruits standards of living have _greatly_ improved.
Casualties are far more controversial than during the Cold War, and vast amounts have been invested in protecting troops. (Going into Iraq under-armored was provably and specifically the fault of the military, not the politicos. The Army refused to learn from Mogadishu years before.)

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368111)

Yes, but this means dewer men and women getting hurt and killed.

War has improved dramatically since WWII
Fewer deaths, more precision, fewer ancillary casualties.

It's not greate, but is is a lot better.
  Ever notice how it's gotten 'easier' yet there aren't any world wars?

Not to down play the efforts of the men an women in are armed forces, but it sure take a lot fewer of them to do the job.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368659)

Less collateral on the other side too. Part of the newer idea with the drones seems to be more precision in the targeting. So instead of having a drone carry one or two missiles with 500lbs of explosive and blow up half the neighborhood, they're going to be loading the things up with what is essentially infantry hand grenades that have been outfitted with tiny miniature versions of laser-based JDAMS fins and guidance. Now the drone has a lot more shots per mission or it can take up more fuel for loitering. Instead of using up a weapon that costs thousands of dollars, you're using one that costs less than $50 to make. Instead of taking out the suspect building, they can just pick off any suspected bad guys that happen to show up on an individual basis.

If they need to be even more specific, I'm sure an existing 50cal sniper system could be outfitted onto an aircraft or poison darts if the robot has to be compact enough to get in and do the job up close and personal.

Just imagine if some group tries to hid behind women and children only to be stung to death by robotic bees, while the women and children are left unharmed.

And for all the complainers: yeah it does suck to be on the wrong end of a weapon, but that's always been the case since someone figured out they could lob a rock at somebody else with some degree of accuracy. The technology involved doesn't matter, but rather whether it's necessary to use the weapon in the first place. I think being more specific in choosing who the targets are instead of wiping out a whole village is still a better option in regards to use of military force.

Why we need less military (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368817)

Not to down play the efforts of the men an women in are armed forces, but it sure take a lot fewer of them to do the job.

Part of it is technological progress. But a lot of it is the nature of our enemies. In WWII we fought industrialized nation states. They weren't quite as industrialized as the US, but it was a close call.

Today we fight a bunch of losers who couldn't even build an effective industry and military. They use guerrilla warfare, which is notoriously ineffective, because it's the best they can do.

Re:Why we need less military (2, Informative)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368993)

They use guerrilla warfare, which is notoriously ineffective, because it's the best they can do.

It's what the who now? Guerrilla warfare is a P.R. and resource-denial strategy rather than an invasion strategy. That doesn't change the fact that it's incredibly effective, which is why the behemoth that is the U.S. military can't 'beat' a bunch of scruffy extremists hiding in schools and hospitals. The problem with guerrilla warfare is a moral one - in order to engage in it you need to be willing to get a lot of innocent people killed.

Maybe that's the goal? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368113)

Perpetual, low-level war.

Re:Maybe that's the goal? (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368643)

Perpetual, low-level war.

With Oceania, no doubt. After all, we have always been at war with Oceania.

Re:Maybe that's the goal? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368801)

There is no Oceania, only Zuul.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367457)

But losing robots isn't going to make a government quit, like losing so many human soldiers can.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Insightful)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367513)

its also about material resources, not just bodies. a war between robot armies will be won by the one that has the most access raw materials metal, oil, coal, T-1000 morphing goo... etc.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368129)

But if the technology requires a certain level of infrastructure, then the poeple we act against may not have robots. SO we will win.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (4, Insightful)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367495)

So with no soldiers to kill, it will be who runs out of money or civilians or infrastructure ...

I agree it's better. Until now we were watching war on TV between mercenaries.
Now we will hear our little Johnny at school got blasted away war may not be a great spectator sport.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367737)

I'd say the large numbers of civilians killed in conflict since WWII would disagree with you. There's been a lot of examples throughout history of making states capitulate by attacking civilian populations, but the axis & allied carpet bombing campaigns in Europe really put the idea in motion that civilians were responsible for the war making machine, so to kill the machine you need to take out the capability of making tanks, bullets, ball bearings, gas, etc. Once you go that far, why stop at the factories? Why not bomb the workers in the factories directly at their homes.

Having robots do the bombing doesn't change any of this, its just that one side has a lot less to lose.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367911)

It's a continuation of the changes that began with the first mechanized warfare, and robotic warfare is indeed worse than what we have now.

When soldiers fought one-on-one the only way to pacify your enemy was to kill, capture or otherwise eliminate his soldiers. When we started fighting wars with machines, industrial power and the civilians that were responsible for it became more important. You could still win by killing or capturing the other guy's soldiers, but now you could also win by depriving them of the machines they needed to fight effectively. That means taking out factories or convincing the civilians that work in them that they don't want to be at war anymore. When we fight with only machines, no men involved, the only option will be to destroy the civilian's will or ability to fight.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368149)

Becasue we continue to make war more human.

The numbers of civilian killed sine WWII pales compared to other wars.

"Why not bomb the workers in the factories directly at their homes."
Because it's not humane.
we try to avoid that.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368495)

I think you missed my point (not that my comment was particularly well crafted). The other reply to me hit it right on - the more we rely on machines and take the human aspect out of combat the more we'll need to destroy civilian populations to truly deprive the enemy of the will/ability to fight.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369005)

Civilian infrastructure, maybe, if advanced weaponry is built on civilian rather than military technology. But there are always other targets than the enemy's civilians. Start with their economy, if that doesn't work then go to town on their infrastructure. Three days without a steady food supply and you've got a city on its knees.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368485)

Douhet's theories on using air power to cow the civilian populace were proven wrong by WW2. The Germans didn't lose the will to fight by having their cities destroyed around them, nor did the Japanese or the Russians.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368845)

...nor the English.

HAVE NO FEAR! (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368601)

Robot drones patrolling the neighborhoods will protect little Johny.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (3, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367583)

I think the idea is to have robots kill people... This is basically nuclear warfare without the fallout. Nukes have a couple of problems. They cause fallout, massive civilian deaths, mutations to future births, etc. They are great, however, because they can be used to kill & deal enormous amounts of damage from afar, with no soldiers on the ground.

Likewise with these drones and robots and what have you. The point, once again, is to make killing massive amounts of people as simple as pressing a button, with no soldiers on the ground. Sure, it's not as bad as nukes, but to me it seems like a technology that is as game changing and disruptive.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368261)

Nukes have a couple of problems. They cause fallout, massive civilian deaths, mutations to future births, etc.

Drop a fake on into the middle of the capital. Use everything else you would in a real nuclear bomb and put the usual nuclear decals on it. Maybe add a parachute deployment system or something so it'll land relatively intact.

Should scare the shit out of the civilian population without any direct casualties. And I really really doubt anyone will be walking up close to it right away.

As an added bonus it'll tell the target's government that we can put this thing anywhere we want. Especially if have the armament team print the target address on it. Imagine how people in New York would react if something like that landed in the middle of Times Square with a text that said

Please Deliver to:
The New York Times Company
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
USA

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (1)

MMInterface (1039102) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368657)

I think the idea is to have robots kill people...

Impossible. Robots don't kill people. People kill people.... I've been waiting to say that for a long time so just forget I was here.

Killing massive amounts of people (3, Informative)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368863)

The point, once again, is to make killing massive amounts of people as simple as pressing a button, with no soldiers on the ground

Did you read the article? The point of this technology is to kill targeted people with as little collateral damage (= dead innocents) as possible. To quote the article:

Instead of dropping Hellfires or a 500-pound bomb on an insurgent hideout, one or more Suburb Warriors could fire a volley of mini-missiles at confirmed targets, without vaporizing the wedding reception next door.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (0, Offtopic)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368329)

Where will the accountability be? At the moment these things are flown by pilots, but over time they will no doubt become far more automated probably just requiring a brief smeac [wikipedia.org] and be able to work out the rest itself. Who gets the blame when a swarm of these things accidentally targets a bunch of kids on a playground because it confused it for a terrorist training camp? - OK perhaps an over-simplification but it doesn't happen until it happens.

Re:I for one welcome our robotic overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368727)

>So if soldiers can be replaces by robots I'm all for it

Except the robots are not killing robots at the moment. They are killing people. So you should say instead :

So if soldiers can be replaced by robots on both sides that only kill other robots then I am all for it.

loss of ressources (2, Interesting)

dwarfenhoschi (1494927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367393)

When i hear something like that i must always think about what cool stuff all those scientists could have made if they would have put there efforts into something usefull like Space travel or something...im sure we could have a freaking warp drive *g*

Re:loss of ressources (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367493)

Civilian space development is just an excuse to do military development on the sly. Consider the Chinese manned space programme. Their Government wants the capability but not so they can plant a flag on the moon eventually.

We have the same thig in the U.S. (2, Interesting)

Motard (1553251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368051)

Just last weekend I went to the American Modelers Association's Futaba Extreme Flight Championships. It was basically figure skating for R/C aircraft done to music.

The fixed wing aircraft were impressive for the things they could do that their bigger piloted cousins could never do (such as nose-up hovering). But the real eye openers were the helicopters.

The small R/C helicopters in those experienced fifteen-year-old hands could pretty much do anything you could think of: Instant transitions between vertical directions like they had vertically opposed rockets, instant recoveries from uncontrolled flight, rolls, twists, hovering while the fuselage was vertical, limited upside-down flight, etc.

One of my first thoughts was "Wow, you're not going to hit that with an RPG." I'm not sure about the range of their radios, or if such control could be extended beyond line of sight, but the thought of such controlled (and relatively low tech) chaos unleashed on a battlefield could gave me the willies.

Re:loss of ressources (5, Insightful)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367565)

Its also worth noting that war has driven technological advances much faster than any other single reason, so I wouldn't go as far to say science has been wasted on war. One example...Emergency room trauma techniques and equipment were perfected on the battlefield. millions of lives have been saved because of the millions that were killed or maimed in war. some of the coolest gadgets we use today came from the research done in finding ways to kill eachother.

Re:loss of ressources (1)

abuelos84 (1340505) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367743)

I'd still go for the peaceful development way... We can wait a bit longer for our flying backpacks...

Re:loss of ressources (2, Interesting)

dwarfenhoschi (1494927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367773)

ok maybe i did say it a bit wrong...i dont want to say that there is no development through this, i just think those things should be developed for civil uses and then for military uses (which will ahppen inevitably with pretty much every technology)

Re:loss of ressources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368829)

ok maybe i did say it a bit wrong...i dont want to say that there is no development through this, i just think those things should be developed for civil uses and then for military uses (which will ahppen inevitably with pretty much every technology)

Ah, but you see, development speed when it is developed for military purposes is far higher. The time to get a working prototype is much less. Sure, they are dangerous, people might get hurt with test prototypes (esp. manned aircrafts).
But there isn't that bother about lawsuits and things move much faster when you are under tight deadlines and there is a perceived urgency (Save millions of civilian lives over the next decade is far less urgency than - hey, we are currently fighting a few wars and they could use this stuff tomorrow) - why don't we have cars that can reasonably drive themselves or at least really good collision avoidance systems yet?
It costs a lot more (probably) when you develop for military grade specs, but you can't have accuracy, speed and cheap costs at the same time. The armed forces prefer the first two.

nuff said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367415)

usawarmachine

only a matter of time (4, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367503)

It's only a matter of time before anybody, anywhere in the world can be picked off by a robot without any warning.

It's modern technology, Bobby!

Re:only a matter of time (1)

sillybilly (668960) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367945)

I for one welcome our swarming miniaturized robot overlords. Not. Do unto others as thou would have them do unto thee. How long until thee be herded around like a slave by one of these little mofos at gunpoint? World dictatorship by one guy, with efficient enforcement. Rebellion impossible.

Re:only a matter of time (4, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368279)

It's only a matter of time before anybody, anywhere in the world can be picked off by a robot without any warning.

Correct, and the vile idiots designing and deploying these systems for the United States should be asking themselves, "How will I feel when one of them kills an American president?"

Because they will. These are assassination machines, and the only thing that has kept assassination at bay as a first-line political tactic is the certainty that the assassin will die or get caught, and therefore be traceable back to their handlers.

The incredible thing, to me, is that we are still so far from a world of ubiquitous political assassination. The writing has been on the wall since the early '90's. And as is usual with these things, once the cycle of tactical violence has begun, it will be very, very difficult to stop. Even in cases where it is screamingly evident to absolutely anyone with two brain cells to rub together that more violence will never under any circumstances improve the situation, people on both sides keep doing it (I'm thinking of the Palestinian-Israeli situation, ON BOTH SIDES.)

So after the first presidential candidate dies, say around 2020, the urge to retaliate will be overwhelming. After that, it's tit-for-tat, all the way to hell.

It won't be the parties doing the killing, either. These things are, or should be, relatively cheap, and the programming is not that difficult. The only reason they are currently expensive is that it is the US government doing it. An "open source" killer robot drone would cost at most a few thousand bucks (use an off-the shelf 1/10th scale RC model as the basic platform).

How would you like to live in the world when any nutjob with a few thousand bucks to spare can assassinate anyone? Because that's the world you'll be living in, soon enough.

Re:only a matter of time (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368483)

So the important people will just retreat to their bunkers 150 meters below ground level.

Re:only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368877)

The first target for America's robots will be the constitution. Damn thing has been obstructing the government for too long.

Couple more years ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367505)

and the USA can attack pretty much any country they want while their own are sitting behind a computer somewhere playing Americas Army with real targets.

It is much easier waging wars when you don't see crying mothers of dead soldiers on TV. Afterall, the others are just terrorists so the war is just and for us it is more like a video game.

Time to purchase stocks of arms manufactures....

someone has been watching scifi (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367527)

I'm thinking the ancient drones from stargate is the goal.

Re:someone has been watching scifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367553)

The Wraith Darts would do good or the drones from Atlantis.

If the technology gets in wrong hands (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367557)

If bad guys get hand on this technology which seems likely because these flying creatures will be ubiquitous and in close contact then no one will be safe even presidents of countries .

Re:If the technology gets in wrong hands (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367681)

How is this flamebait? It's true...

Re:If the technology gets in wrong hands (1)

billgates (75865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368269)

The bad guys already have this technology. Think about it.

What kind of weapons? (1)

HtR (240250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367571)

FTFS:
build smaller, even microscopic drones with smaller weapons

But what kind of weapons could a microscopic drone ...

OMG! They're planning biological weapons!

The /. summary proves it!

Setting ourselves up for failure? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367661)

Most of these UAVs still require input from a human operator in order to receive authorization to fire. What happens when we fight anyone with moderate technical capabilities? The first thing that I would do when up against a drone army is to break out the RF jammer or a moderately powered microwave dish effectively denying the UAV access to the battlefield.

Re:Setting ourselves up for failure? (2, Informative)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368143)

I hope you've got a lot of jammers and people willing to set them up, because that same UAV that just noticed it can't talk to HQ any longer has just slaved a human pilot in to the zone. He or she is ready to unleash a few HARM's on target to clear up any noisy patches.

Why waste jet fuel and HARMs? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368719)

Have drones working in pairs or larger swarms.
They lose contact - all drones switch to autopilot, start recording a video of the area, mapping the source of the jamming signal, while lifting off to a safe altitude and trying to recontact the HQ.
They then stream the video and the jammer's location to the HQ, where humans inspect the data, make a visual and/or thermal lock on the jammer and send one drone on a scripted assignment to take it out while others are used for visual confirmation from a safe altitude.

Not sure if that antenna is a civilian mobile network relay or a hostile jamming station? Order one drone to do a detailed inspection while others watch.

Re:Setting ourselves up for failure? (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368157)

"The first thing that I would do when up against a drone army is to break out the RF jammer or a moderately powered microwave dish effectively denying the UAV access to the battlefield."

No chance UAV designers would take THAT into consideration! :)

Your jammer will being HARM to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368165)

No fear, our friend the AGM-68 HARM [wikipedia.org] will come hunting for you. Or, the Brits' very nice ALARM [wikipedia.org] , which will wait for you if you get scared and turn off your jammer for a bit.

Re:Setting ourselves up for failure? (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368873)

I'm pretty sure this system will not be used when fighting a medium/high tech enemy. It's to minimize collateral damage when fighting against guerrillas, who tend to be badly equipped.

It's not the only tool in the arsenal.

Re:Setting ourselves up for failure? (2, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368987)

The first thing that I would do when up against a drone army is to break out the RF jammer or a moderately powered microwave dish effectively denying the UAV access to the battlefield.

Which is why Air Force Space Command has spent money investing in Wideband Global SATCOM, Advanced Extremely High Frequency, etc. Spot beams, EHF and powerful transmitters make any signal to a UAV extremely difficult to jam.

if this technology gets in wrong hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367683)

If bad guys get hand on this technology because it will be in close contact and ubiquitous then no one in the world will be safe from its menace even heads of states.We must first look at all the consequences before inventing something.

Re:if this technology gets in wrong hands (2)

abuelos84 (1340505) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367775)

Actually the bad guys are the ones who have them now, dude...
They are wasting millions on getting smaller, cuter guns so they can kill more, faster & cleaner... How "badder" do you need it to be?

STOP. Enough of this bullshit! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367693)

Seriously, it's 2009 can we please cut the bullshit? I'm so god-damn sick of hearing about this or that military technology wasting billions of dollars that could otherwise be spent doing any number of more worthy things.

Can we please go out and work on cancer, or alternative energy, or space travel, or designer gold plated diamond encrusted dildos. ANYTHING is better spending more money on yet another way to kill people.

Re:STOP. Enough of this bullshit! (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368251)

Seriously, troll? I know he's a bit profane, but the point is valid.

On one hand/the other hand (1)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367719)

On one hand, scary to imagine the world with warfare robots.

On the other hand, dude, I built RC planes in high school and designed my own jet powered drone which could theoretically carry weapons while in college. How do I submit my proposals to the USAF?

It's all fun and games until.... (5, Insightful)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367895)

Almost all scientific break-throughs/developments go through a clearly observable cycle. 1. Theoretical, 2. Experimental 3. Prototypical, 4. Militaristic 5. Commercial 6. Entertainment. Granted that a very few developments skipped a step or two, but for the most part, the cycle holds true. Which makes me wonder....how long it will be until we can be watching drones "police" us on Cops????

-Oz

Re:It's all fun and games until.... (3, Funny)

ring-eldest (866342) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368531)

Coming this Fall on NBC....

You were there when we lured perverts into the spotlight with Chris Hansen... You were there when the "busts" went down. Now, join us as we team up with local law enforcement in an effort TO CATCH A PREDATOR DRONE!

BigLaunch42: Oh baby, you sound HOT.
Sparkleflames12: I am, honey.
BigLaunch42: Right out of the factory, you say?
Sparkleflames12: I'm so new my sparkles are still compartmentalized top-secret.
BigLaunch42: Is your operator at home?



Chris Hansen: Why don't you have a seat right over there.

Re:It's all fun and games until.... (3, Insightful)

i_b_don (1049110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368577)

"Almost all"??? Bullshit.

Lets start listing breakthroughs and developments that aren't militarized first:

heart surgery, anigioplasty, television, cellular phones, CAT scans, chemotherapy, vaccinations, dental implants, hearing aids, digital photography, digital video recording, dark matter, DNA, plate techtonics, AIDS medicine, gene therapy, mapping the human genome, HIV testing, the remote control, insulin, kidney dialysis, plasma television, flat panel television, MRIâ(TM)s, pacemakers, photovoltaic cells, antidepressants, robots in production lines, scanning electron microscopes, smoke detectors, the birth control pill, performing organ transplants, UPC codes, and Viagra

In addition practically all modern electronics were not built with the military in mind nor were they initially used for military. This includes things like multi-million transistor processors, gigabit memory chips, high resolution flat panel displays, gigabit eithernet, etc. The military has a different set of requirements before it uses technology than corporations. They demand a higher level of stability and reliability than a commercial enterprise requires. As such a corporation is going to use the highest performance CPUâ(TM)s on their workstations and desktops while inside a nuclear sub theyâ(TM)re going to still be using Pentium IIâ(TM)s that have been thoroughly evaluated and proven to work.

Commerce drives way more R&D development in this day and age than does the military. There are lots of exceptions because the military has a different set of requirements and therefore they research different things, but the time when the military drives "almost all scientific break-throughs" is long dead. The military still drives some scientific development, but itâ(TM)s a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the scientific community.

d

The biggest issue of the 21st century... (5, Insightful)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367903)

The biggest issue of the 21st century is post-scarcity technology wielded by people still preoccupied with fighting over perceived scarcity.

Nuclear power, biotech, AI, robotics, nanotech, the internet, and social bureaucracy -- each of these technologies could make the earth a paradise if developed for humane ends.

Albert Einstein said: "The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."

The same is true for robotics, biotech, and the rest. Even smart networked watches. :-)

Re:The biggest issue of the 21st century... (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368175)

And he was wrong.
Sorry, but we use Atomic power fro a lot more peaceful ends then harmful.
We know how terrible they are, and as such strive for diplomacy.
Ironic, if countries without nuclear weapons would stop trying to build nuclear weapon, eventually they would go away.

Re:The biggest issue of the 21st century... (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368331)

Not really. Atomic power is being phased out currently in many places, and new atomic weapons are being avidly constructed. And the only way they will go away is when they explode.

Re:The biggest issue of the 21st century... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368403)

"Post scarcity". Is that geekspeak for "technology will fix everything"?

If you figure out a way for technology to eliminate the scarcity of something as simple as water [whyfiles.org] , then I will begin to take this concept seriously. Until then, it's more Wired Magazine nonsense, totally disconnected from the real world.

Re:The biggest issue of the 21st century... (2, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368447)

The biggest issue of the 21st century is post-scarcity technology wielded by people still preoccupied with fighting over perceived scarcity.

Some things may not be scarce with the advancement of technology, but I would say it would certainly take a pretty big leap in technology to make the land between Israel and Palistine "non-scarce" (for example).

Supply another terrorist state with arms (0, Flamebait)

smooth123 (893548) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367949)

When will it be understood that supplying one terrorist state (Pakistan) with arms to wipe out another group of terrorists never works.... It did not work when Afghans were armed to fight the USSR, look how that backfired.... It did not work when Saddam was armed to create disharmony in Iran, the last 5 years are proof of that folly.... How stupid can people be, oh well don't answer that, 8 yrs of a moron as supreme leader answers the question.....

Talk about Warmongering (1, Troll)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367973)

It just occurred to me that this is just another weapon like gun, it will get distributed all over the world and we would have more of current violent condition all across the world.

It doesn't matter what guns are sent and whether they are manned or not, as long as there are Warmongering leaders across the world pretending to protect these kind of developments are more to come.

Just because military technology gives birth to greater breakthroughs it doesn't mean we can step over the damage it causes.

Re:Talk about Warmongering (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368367)

You think weapons have changed anything? You're fucking retarded. Why does England have such a problem with knife violence. Weapons don't cause violence, encourage violence, or really do anything except change the shape of the wound. People cause violence.

This stuff... (5, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368025)

This stuff needs to be treated like nuclear weapons in terms of international condemnation. It is much harder to determine if a rogue country is trying to build such technology and is therefore MORE dangerous then nuclear weapons.

Drone weaponry, especially the microscopic crap they are dreaming about (but seriously working on), are just as dangerous as biological weaponry. Borders will mean nothing to the people that have this capability.

I don't care if it IS us that will have this technology. It needs to be stopped before we have ourselves another Cold-War, or worse, a real war.

I don't trust ANYONE with this tech.

Re:This stuff... (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368181)

GO live in a cave.

This tech works both ways.
And they are controlled, so yeah, borders will matter.

Re:This stuff... (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368333)

Borders will mean nothing to the people that have this capability.

But everyone will have this technology, including the Timothy McVeigh clone down the street who thinks some strange collective entity he calls "the gubmint" should be attacked by force of arms. He will therefore send these assassination machines out to kill government functionaries, as for some reason he thinks his imagined nemesis, "the gubmint", is somehow associated with the government.

Re:This stuff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368389)

> Drone weaponry, especially the microscopic crap they are dreaming about (but seriously working on), are just as dangerous as biological weaponry.

Actually microscopic drones and biological weaponry are the same thing under different names. A biological system is really just a very small mechanical system. The only difference as that at the moment the drone has more atoms in it. As time goes on, biological tools will become smarter and more complex, while drones will become smaller. Eventually both will contain the same number of atoms, operate on the same scale and be indistinguishable.

borders, sovereignty, nationalism (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368587)

i view this as the enemy of peace, not the maintainer of it

a military technological development which leads to the inability of nations and states to maintain their integrity and borders seems like a good development to me

the world needs to move into a post-nationalistic world. so bring on the military technology which would destroy national integrity and borders. these are artificial constructs which render decisions based on tribalism and ethnocentrism. destroy all nations

Re:This stuff... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368595)

If you saw the numbers of mexicans pouring in to the US every day, you'd already know that borders mean nothing now.

Manned or Unmanned? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368411)

Inquiring minds [npr.org] want to know!

Well allow me to say that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368487)

as a Pakistani, I, for one, welcome our new drone overlords!

Bet ya'all didn't see this one coming :)

BORING (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368911)

Wake me when we're fighting cyberwars in cyberspace with cybersoldiers.
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