Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

What's It Like To Pilot a Drone? a Bit Like Call of Duty

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the make-it-like-minecraft-and-you've-got-yourself-a-soldier dept.

The Military 170

Velcroman1 writes "Teenagers raised on Call of Duty and Halo might relish flying a massive Predator drone — a surprisingly similar activity. Pilots of unmanned military aircraft use a joystick to swoop down into the battlefield, spot enemy troop movements, and snap photos of terror suspects, explained John Hamby, a former military commander who led surveillance missions during the Iraq War. 'You're always maneuvering the airplane to get a closer look,' Hamby said. 'You're constantly searching for the bad guys and targets of interest. When you do find something that is actionable, you're a hero.' Yet a new study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found real-life drone operators can become easily bored. Only one participant paid attention during an entire test session, while even top performers spent a third of the time checking a cellphone or catching up on the latest novel. The solution: making the actual drone mission even more like a video game."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Insert PC vs. console flamewar here (2)

muel (132794) | about 2 years ago | (#42111091)

Solution to issues of boredom? Allow mouse+keyboard!

Re:Insert PC vs. console flamewar here (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#42111627)

Reason for innocent civilian deaths? Inaccuracies of using a controller instead of keyboard and mouse. I could target that Hellfire on a bathroom window, whereas those Xbox boys could only hit the broad side of a barn if there were women and children in it!
 

Re:Insert PC vs. console flamewar here (1)

anypundit (2546510) | about 2 years ago | (#42112075)

TFA: "The real military use a touchscreen notebook to control drones . . ."

Seriously? The real cause of civilian casualties = sausage fingers.

Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (4, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#42111111)

There is no guilt. The "enemy" is no longer people, but pixels rendered in false colour. No need to justify or otherwise rationalize murder. Neat. Welcome to the Ender's game.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | about 2 years ago | (#42111191)

You beat me to the enders game reference, you sonofabitch.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#42111281)

Sorry. You could have replied with a reference to the Speaker for the Dead. I think it would be very appropriate that the people who are about to be shot from the air had someone to say a word on their behalf to someone. Not the drone pilots or their commanders, but to the executives who make the decision to kill them based on largely one-sided, information. Not as good as a due process, but still an improvement over Call of Duty.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (-1, Troll)

Gith (2778139) | about 2 years ago | (#42111267)

How quickly we forget the lessons learned on September 11th, 2001.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (4, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 2 years ago | (#42111325)

How quickly we forget the lessons learned on September 11th, 2001.

And what lesson is that?

Take repeated intelligence reports from your allies seriously?
Bother to read and take heed of reports entitled "Bin Ladin plans to attack within the US" that detail planned use of aircraft?

Ohh -- I'm sorry, I forgot.. we're all supposed to shove our heads up our ass and run around in fear while the US Government takes away more and more of our rights every time they say boo.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 2 years ago | (#42111731)

Too bad Bush was busy taking a record number of vacations days of any prior president and kept putting off that meeting. Yeh, the one meeting where Clinton's intelligence staff volunteered to meet with them to brief Bush on urgent security matters.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (3, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#42111969)

I think Gith may have been refering to the idea that if fear is gone then war is easy. We can remove the fear by using remote drones, or by using people who have accepted and welcome their own death for a greater cause. Either works, and it's a really dumb arms race.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 2 years ago | (#42112365)

"US Government takes away more and more of our rights"
Exactly what rights have been taken away?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111273)

Most drone observations are surveillance. And it's made the battlefield safer and cleaner for both soldiers and civilians. You'd rather go back to the old "Bomb everything with this big bomb" paradigm?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2, Informative)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 2 years ago | (#42111285)

How about we go back to the "we don't need to police the world" paradigm.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#42111375)

You responded to a false dichotomy with another false dichotomy. I'm confused as to whether this makes a false trichotomy or a false quadchotomy.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42111451)

It depends on how the second dichotomy maps to the first one. Sometimes they cascade into a true monochotomy. (Also, it would be 'tetrachotomy', due to Greek.)

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111469)

It means you responded to a couple of idiots. The future of the US. The kids these days are the stupidest little shits I've ever encountered.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111551)

Amen to that.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42112315)

... The kids these days are the stupidest little shits I've ever encountered.

and stay off my lawn!

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111543)

Combat is still going to happen. You think we shouldn't use a better tool? Of course we should. Drones are that tool, and they'll even help back at home.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#42112709)

No, it won't. If we didn't kill them, then nobody would.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#42111303)

No, I'd rather go forward to using the proper tools for the job, like addressing the problems that result in unwanted consequences like terrorism. But shooting is so easy.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42111457)

Most drone observations are surveillance.

But not all of them.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42113173)

Thanks for pointing out the meaning of the word "Most".

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#42111287)

As opposed to the long bow or catapult, where you don't necessarily see the other guy ever. Only in the last decade has warfare become impersonal.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42111471)

At least you're out on a field where the other guy can shoot back, not in a cozy armchair, texting with one hand and bombing people-shaped-pixels with the other.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (3, Insightful)

VAElynx (2001046) | about 2 years ago | (#42111729)

And that's a good thing how, unless you believe that only dying in combat will bring you eternal reward in Valhalla?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#42111831)

At least you're out on a field where the other guy can shoot back, not in a cozy armchair,

Close contact with the enemy does not make one dispassionate, and less likely to commit war crimes. It is exactly the opposite. A grunt on a patrol probably hasn't slept more than a few hours in the last week. He is hungry, and tired. His whole body aches with fatigue and itches with bug bites. His canteens are empty and his eyes sting with sweat turned to brine. Just yesterday he saw his best friend get his foot blown off by by a "toe popper". You think he is going to make more ethical life and death decisions than a well-rested, well-fed operator in an air conditioned van in Nevada who is having his every decision recorded? The depersonalization of war is a GOOD THING. Mistakes are still made, but we do not see any intentional atrocities like we did at My Lai, or No Gun Ri.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

Tackhead (54550) | about 2 years ago | (#42111301)

There is no guilt. The "enemy" is no longer people, but pixels rendered in false colour. No need to justify or otherwise rationalize murder. Neat. Welcome to the Ender's game.

On the other hand, if you fuck up because you got bored grinding out the full-bird-colonel level, you don't get to restore from the last save point, you can't even reroll a new character. Yes, rebuying some of your Steam games if you get caught cheating or griefing is rough, but it's nothing compared to a permaban in the form of a dishonorable discharge.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111331)

How exactly do you fuck up with a drone?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#42111309)

I'd like to point out that the drone pilot doesn't decide to fire. There is a rather lengthy and complicated targeting process to get authorization to fire. The worst problem with a bored drone pilot is that he may miss something on the screen, not that he'd launch a Hellfire missile because it was something to do.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111417)

I wouldn't want to be on the other end of your so called targetting "process":

http://www.cryptome.org/2012/01/0094.pdf [cryptome.org]

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111481)

Context for above: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunduz_airstrike#Casualties

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#42112801)

I wouldn't want to be on the other end of your so called targetting "process":

http://www.cryptome.org/2012/01/0094.pdf [cryptome.org]

This was a MANNED AIRCRAFT flying a mission in support of troops under fire. This NOT an example of the targeting process for drones the GPP was referring to. If fact it is the opposite: an example of what happens when you DON'T use drones, and you don't have the review and dispassionate decision making that they enable.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111713)

There is a rather lengthy and complicated targeting process to get authorization to fire

Flip a coin?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#42112405)

There is a rather lengthy and complicated targeting process to get authorization to fire

Flip a coin?

...more like,
"DR705 to JTAC, recce complete. Request clearance to go hot on target?"
"Stand by DR705. (shake, shake, shake.) Ah, 'It is decidedly so.' DR705 you are cleared hot on target, cleared to release."
"Copy JTAC.Copy: cleared to go hot on target, cleared to release. Thank goodness. Last time it came back, 'Reply hazy, try again.'"

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#42111327)

Death was ALWAYS acceptable, done up close and personal.

Have some Kampuchea, Rwanda, the Holocaust, etc.

Also, "cannons" called, citing prior art.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#42111377)

Yep. There is a reason murderers in general and the government-sponsored murder in Kampuchea, Rwanda and the Nazi camps is not cherished, but frowned upon.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42112669)

And yet people turn a blind eye to the fighting in Somalia for decades. (Good thing the U.S. stopped trying to police them!)

I'm not saying that murderers are cherished, but they certainly aren't frowned upon.

unmanned.molleindustria.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111727)

Getting soldiers to shoot at their fellow human beings isn't always easy. By distancing the soldier from the target he isn't really killing anyone, he's almost playing a game. It isn't real. It's easy to rationalize.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

memnock (466995) | about 2 years ago | (#42111379)

What if the pilots were required to distinguish between obvious non-targets, such as children, and people with weapons or else face a stiff punishment, such as time in the jail? Oh, what, you're not interested in being a pilot now that a mistake leading to "collateral damage" is now actually more than you losing points in your game?

Oh, that's right, everyone the drone hits is a enemy combatant. So, I guess there is no motivation to worry about what one shoots at.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42111485)

Oh, that's right, everyone the drone hits is a enemy combatant. So, I guess there is no motivation to worry about what one shoots at.

Not since Wikileaks was shut down.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

SteveWP (1845840) | about 2 years ago | (#42112527)

you simply can't kill enough Islamic cockroaches. Islam is the cancer of humanity and if we don't stop it Islam will eat the civilized world alive screaming.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111803)

any one who runs is a VC, any one who doesn't run is a well disciplined VC. Get some, get some, yeah get some. Ain't war hell.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111393)

You're right, they're not people. They stopped being people when they accepted the unholy religion of Islam. Any rational human knows that those meatbags are an abomination to anything humane and logical.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

chispito (1870390) | about 2 years ago | (#42111437)

There is no guilt. The "enemy" is no longer people, but pixels rendered in false colour. No need to justify or otherwise rationalize murder. Neat. Welcome to the Ender's game.

I am not anti-drone when they are used responsibly. But I did find this quote from the article a bit provocative:

Cummings says the secret could be to make drone missions work more like a video game. That’s the opposite of the trend in the automotive industry, where distracted driving can lead to more frequent accidents and higher fatalities.

Emphasis mine. Are they worried more about the fatalities (bad guys dying) or the accidents (good guys dying)?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

hjf (703092) | about 2 years ago | (#42111877)

Who is the good guy?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#42112751)

Who is the good guy?

Good point. I think the word he needs is "skilled".

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

chispito (1870390) | about 2 years ago | (#42113139)

Civilians and combatants that do not hide behind civilians or intentionally target them.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (3, Interesting)

Warhawke (1312723) | about 2 years ago | (#42111549)

It's worth remembering that the concept of war as murder is an extraordinarily modern concept with regards to human society. It wasn't that many generations ago that our forefathers even believed that if you died home safe in bed and not in the heat of battle that you would never see the afterlife and your soul might simply vanish. While plenty may consider that to be sociological evolution, and perhaps rightly so, I do not think it is fair to blame the dehumanization of war solely upon LCD screens and video games. The British wore red uniforms to disguise blood, and even the bloodthirsty Romans put sand in the gladiatorial arenas to soak up the gore. We have dehumanized war and death for far longer than the presence of the console video game.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#42111715)

Elimination of your "enemy" as a tool for solving problems (internal, like keeping power, economic growth or resource acquisition, or external, such as threats from belligerent neighbours) was probably the most straightforward solution when level of technological and social development was comparatively low. The question that needs to be asked and answered is how appropriate is it today, and is there a better way.

It is a long topic, and Slashdot isn't the right place to pour one's soul out in a long treatise, but my opinion on the matter is that there is very little creative thinking involved when solving international problems, and the reason for this is that the people who end up being in charge are, by the virtue of the selection process to get them there, poorly equipped to solve such problems.

Hence, we tend to get suboptimal solutions as a matter of course, and it is only after a major crisis that such tendency is temporarily corrected.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#42111697)

Good soldiers are already psychopaths who do not mind killing people.
Guilt? The whole idea is preposterous.

There is no need to pretend it is a game.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#42111769)

There has never been any guilt where it counts. You forget that the people who start wars have traditionally not been the ones who do the dirty work. Yes, Kings used to actually fight in wars, but they used to consider it entertainment, or at the very least, upward career mobility.

Unless you're lamenting the fact that the grunts now don't have to sit in a trench, get maimed, or PTSD, drones are generally a good thing. I suppose that less of that makes it easier to keep prosecuting wars in the face of public opinion, but sending millions of boys off to war to be killed hasn't stopped wars in the past, so I think I'll go with the fewer casualties where I can get them.

Unless you thought that no one could bomb, shoot or burn civilians before?

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#42111849)

Which is not necessarily bad. As the "collateral murder" video has shown, people tend to be more aggressive when they fear for their own lives. A drone pilot is in perfect safety, so he has enough time to calmly make a decision.
Relying on a soldier to make moral decisions is naive. Soldiers are trained to do exactly what they are told. The decision to attack have always come from the officers and the politicians who don't participate in the fight anyway.

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#42112285)

There is no guilt.

[Citation Needed]
The available evidence suggests otherwise: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/06/drone-pilot-ptsd/ [wired.com]

Re:Death becomes acceptable, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42112653)

The available propaganda seems to suggest otherwise.

Droning on and on (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#42111141)

I think that's the whole point. It should not be fun. That's why we didn't name them something flashier.

Re:Droning on and on (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 2 years ago | (#42111407)

like 'Predator'?

Re:Droning on and on (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 years ago | (#42111499)

Not according to Wordnet:

"drone
            n 1: stingless male bee in a colony of social bees (especially
                  honeybees) whose sole function is to mate with the queen"

In the workers' society of the beehive, drones have all the fun.

Re:Droning on and on (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42113249)

If your idea of fun is to have sex with the biggest, fattest female around.

Re:Droning on and on (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#42111739)

Why should it not be fun? Do you want your soldier "workforce" to be miserable, down, and inefficient?

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111165)

It needs to be more like a video game! After all, in video games, you get penalized when you shoot the random civilian instead of the guy with the gun.

Re:Yes! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111229)

After all, in video games, you get penalized when you shoot the random civilian instead of the guy with the gun

I learned the hard way you don't fuck with chickens in ocarina of time.

Re:Yes! (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#42112887)

You also get to shoot and blow things up a lot more in video games, not just when there's a confirmed Bad Guy on the screen once in a while.

Re:Yes! (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42113259)

When was the last time someone played GTA without killing a civilian?

Joystick? (1)

NamTaf (2768829) | about 2 years ago | (#42111167)

Pretty sure I haven't used a joystick in Call of Duty or any other computer game in the last decade.

Re:Joystick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111353)

your analog stick is a joystick

Re:Joystick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111545)

And a more fitting size to represent for a typical CoD player.

omg whodathunkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111199)

Who would ever conceive that controls based on those of a plane would be like those of a plane...

I'm bored - I'll start a bombing run now... (0)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 years ago | (#42111209)

I mean heck, it's only a game, eh?

Tesla is not amused (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 years ago | (#42111261)

Tesla wanted robots fighting robots by wireless remote, so humans wouldn't have to participate in war.

Re:Tesla is not amused (1)

inputdev (1252080) | about 2 years ago | (#42111503)

sadly, robots fighting robots does seem inevitable at this point, although humans are still likely to be participating.

Re:Tesla is not amused (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#42112489)

sadly, robots fighting robots does seem inevitable at this point, although humans are still likely to be participating.

"Sadly?" It's already in production:
James Cameron and Mark Burnett Team for Discovery's 'Robogeddon'

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/article/mark-burnett-alaska-series-others-announced-discovery-36832 [thewrap.com]

No Motivation to End the War (0, Troll)

KalvinB (205500) | about 2 years ago | (#42111275)

When the cost of war does not include lives on your side, there's zero motivation to end the war with peaceful, equitable treaty. And when there's no cost to you, there's little incentive to avoid going to war to begin with.

No wonder we're trapped in endless wars. The government just prints money so there's no limiting factor there and as long as our guys don't die, the public doesn't care.

Fantastic world we live in.

We need to get a Republican elected to president so we can start caring again.

Re:No Motivation to End the War (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#42111441)

We need to get a Republican elected to president so we can start caring again.

I agreed with everything else that you said but that.

The last republican president started the current wars, and the last 2 republican candidates have given no indication they would have prosecuted war less aggressively.

You seem to be in denial.

Re:No Motivation to End the War (4, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#42111813)

His point was that people cared about the wars and pushed for them to end when there was a republican president. People don't seem to care as much now with a democrat as president.

You may or may not agree, but it is an interesting way of looking at things.

Re:No Motivation to End the War (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111909)

That may have something to do with the fact that one of the wars has already ended under the current administration and the other is on schedule to end within two years. It's a bit harder to justify taking to the streets in protest when half your demands have already been met and the other half are being met in the near future.

Re:No Motivation to End the War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111479)

We need to get a Republican elected to president so we can start sending our poor, disenfranchised, and low income people to fight our wars for us. I mean, that IS what you meant, right?

Cummings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111299)

What kind of surname is Cummigs, anyway?

more important... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about 2 years ago | (#42111321)

What's it like to be bombed by a drone and its faceless pilot? Even more important, do you think they (the faceless pilots) care?

What they need is more pilots (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#42111339)

No wonder pilots get bored during 24 hour long missions. But these aren't real planes, you are not limited to 2 pilots per drone. Assign a team of 10 to each and make them work in shifts. I'm pretty sure that will help more than giving achievments for watching rocks.

Re:What they need is more pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111463)

That's exactly what I was thinking. If the pilots rotated out every hour or whatever then nobody would get bored. It's idiotic to force the same couple of people in to a 24 hour mission of sitting there doing nothing. What did they think would happen?!

Re:What they need is more pilots (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#42111893)

That's exactly what I was thinking. If the pilots rotated out every hour or whatever then nobody would get bored. It's idiotic to force the same couple of people in to a 24 hour mission of sitting there doing nothing. What did they think would happen?!

What do you think will happen?

Predator cost per unit: $4.03 mil [wikipedia.org] (in 2010)
Operational costs - for operating one for border surveillance double that [securitydebrief.com] . For operating it non-stop (every hour of the year): multiply by 7 ($28.5 mil) - same 2010.

Re:What they need is more pilots (1)

DoctorBit (891714) | about 2 years ago | (#42113331)

I was thinking a tiered system. There'd be tier 1 pilots watching a couple dozen monitors each, and the second anything becomes even slightly interesting on one of the feeds, immediately hands off that feed to a queued-up and ready tier 2 person. The tier 2 person triages the feed into one of the following:

1) False alarm - hands the feed back to a tier 1 pilot.
2) Possibly interesting - continues to pilot and watch.
3) Definitely interesting - hands the feed to a queued-up and ready tier 3 pilot.

The tier 3 pilot does the actual combat flying.

I'm guessing each tier would attract pilots of a particular personality type: tier 1 would have concientious laid-back personalities, tier 2 would have more moderate personalities, and tier 3 would have gung-ho gamer personalities.

Re:What they need is more pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42113359)

That's what poor college and grad students are for. Unemployment? Solved!

maybe it's time to replace the drone pilots, too (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42111349)

Just crank the AI up to max setting.

Probably cheaper to crowd source (1)

mathew42 (2475458) | about 2 years ago | (#42112187)

I wonder how hard it would be to feed the input into an existing game engine? Gamers could identify potential targets and based on reputation / number of ids the target could be investigated further. You could use something like Amzon mechanical Turk [mturk.com] to set challenges.

With the Army's Blimp [wired.com] providing more data, analysis will become increasingly more challenging.

Re:maybe it's time to replace the drone pilots, to (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#42112521)

Just crank the AI up to max setting.

Oh, please don't.

You know there will just be a big stack of drones hopping up and down, all trying to get out the closed hanger door.

We saw it happen in "Toys" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111453)

If I recall correctly, this concept is addressed in the 1992 movie "Toys" [1] as seen in
http://reelchange.net/2012/04/27/was-the-worst-robin-williams-movie-just-ahead-of-its-time/ [reelchange.net]

[1] and yes, I know it's a bad movie, but the idea of maneuvering real drones as videogames doesn't seem so out-of-time today.

The Sound matter (2)

chrisale (621995) | about 2 years ago | (#42111589)

If Americans, Canadians, or any other citizens of Western Countries had to live with the sound of drones overhead 24/7 they'd think again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBRET2BCZUE [youtube.com]

Crowdsource (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42111615)

Seems to me like we need to crowd source this. Everyone can signup and watch the feed for targets. If something is marked by XX amount of users its flagged for review.

And (3, Insightful)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 2 years ago | (#42111721)

Know what bothers me the most, is that there are democratic countries with "kill lists" , they even go public with it, and is fine, completely fine no one seems to bother !!

Re:And (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42112485)

Know what bothers me the most, is that there are democratic countries with "kill lists" , they even go public with it, and is fine, completely fine no one seems to bother !!

Every country has a list somewhere of people that they want dead. Every. Last. One. And what's wrong with them being public? Would it be more ethical and moral if they were private? What's really going on here is your idea of democracy is this utopian society where everyone is nice to each other and because it's so wonderful nobody would ever want to kill another person. The only place like that is North Korea. Everywhere else strives for balance between freedom and security. And even if a perfect utopia were to emerge in the world, it would be standing shoulder to shoulder with dystopias wanting nothing more than to pull it down to their level.

Non-violence is a virtue; It's something to strive for. It's not something that has ever, or likely will ever be, obtainable. Not by large groups of people. Not by governments.

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42112503)

Know what bothers me the most, is that there are democratic countries with "kill lists"

We are at war. What do you expect?

Chilling (1)

Foxhoundz (2015516) | about 2 years ago | (#42111859)

For the pilot of the drone, it's just a matter of pushing a red button on a dreary Monday morning. What we don't see is the brother, mother, husband, or son whose flesh was blown to bits by the drone. Bombing someone with a high tech manned aircraft is one thing, but the moment we abstract ourselves further and further from the hell that is war, we become the very monsters we're supposedly out to stop. I predict the drone strikes, the occupation in Iraq, and all other activities in the middle east we've been undertaking are only going to bite us back in another tragic incident like 9/11. Remember 9/11? We forgot 9/11 the day we let ourselves got lulled into two wars. We're breeding a new generation of terrorists who are growing up to fear and hate the drones, controlled by none other than the United States of America.

Why should flying a drone be different? (3, Insightful)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 2 years ago | (#42112009)

A common quote of combat pilots goes something like, "Combat flying is hours of boredom punctuated with a few seconds of complete terror." I've read something like this quote from several sources but most commonly from WWII pilots (and crew). Why should drone pilots expect it to be different?

At least the drone pilots get to go home even if the drone itself crashes, gets shot down, etc. I can imagine what a ball turret gunner from a B-17 or B-24 would say about the drone pilots being bored when they spent hours in a cramped, unpressurized, freezing cold turret scanning the airspace below the plane for approaching enemy interceptors; trying to stay alert and alive.

Cheers,
Dave

buy Burberry femme with 80%discount! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42112199)

http://www.burberry-may.com/ [burberry-may.com] Sacs Burberry Femme [burberry-may.com] Sacs Burberry Pas Cher [burberry-may.com] burberry solde [burberry-may.com] Burberry Echarpe [burberry-may.com] Femme Trench Burberry [burberry-may.com] Sacs Burberry [burberry-may.com] Burberry Pas Cher,Bienvenue à visiter nos sacs à main Burberry boutique en ligne 60% ??de réduction pour les Sacs à Main Burberry ,Sacs Burberry Femme,Sacs Burberry Pas Cher!www.burberry-may.com

get people like beavis and butthead to fly them (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42112221)

get people like beavis and butthead to fly them but give them some training first.

http://vimeo.com/44875392 [vimeo.com]

How can you shoot innocent women... (1)

hemp (36945) | about 2 years ago | (#42112885)

Pvt. Joker: How can you shoot innocent women and children like that?
Helicopter gunner: It's easy. You just don't lead them as much. You see, anyone that runs, is V.C. Anyone that stands still is well disciplined V.C. Ain't war hell?

And I Just Flashed On George Carlin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42113261)

"And when we're not invading some sovereign nation, or setting it on fire from the air, which is more fun for our Nintendo pilots, then we're usually declaring war on something here at home."

RIP Evil Old Uncle George.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?