Published On: Sat, Sep 29th, 2012

Pentagon investing in autonomous drones requiring less human interaction

The rise of the machines.

Drone MQ-9 Reaper de l’US Air Force a l’atterrissage Photo/Air Force

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are headed to the next step in their evolutionary scale, and the Pentagon is investing heavily in a future fleet of robotic weapons.

According to a News 24 report, the current arsenal of unmanned drones, which require a person to operate may be a thing of the past as researchers work on robots that will be  faster, stealthier and smarter, sans human intervention, or very minimal.

USAF chief scientist, Mark Maybury describes the future of drones saying, “Before they were blind, deaf and dumb. Now we’re beginning to make them to see, hear and sense.”

Instead of being “in the loop”, humans will be “on the loop”, said Maybury, explaining that operators will be able to “dial in” when needed to give a drone direction for a specific task.

“The  human role moves from being sort of the operator from afar, to more like the supervisor or manager, and a manager giving more and more of a leash, more and more independence,” according to Peter Singer, an expert on robotic weapons and author of Wired for War.

Unquestionably, this brings up more and more ethical questions. Can scientists and the military guarantee that the more autonomous vehicles will not make a grievous mistake with potentially catastrophic consequences?

Ronald Arkin, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology believes the robots could wage war in a more “humane way”.

“It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield, but I am convinced that they can perform more ethically than human soldiers are capable of”, he notes.

Commentors had some choice words about the future drones:

“death by abdication, hack the network and destroy your enemy, very scary”

“I can see in future when these “bots” kill civilians nobody can be held accountable because “Oh, the robot malfunctioned”

and lastly,

“Judgement day. Only John Connor can save us.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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