Killer Robots and Collateral Damage

Killer Robots and Collateral Damage

Drone warfare in Spec Ops, Black Ops and Unmanned.

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It's a scary thought that a machine's "algorithm" may be what is picking who lives and who dies.
I would hope that we try to find ways to use military drones to fight wars without killing not only our own, but the enemy as well. However, by the time that is possible I assume drones will be too common in war on all sides to be used as such an advantage.

I hope we figure some of this out before it becomes too much of a problem.

This reminds me of something we discussed in my history class. How many enemy civilians are you willing to kill in order to save one of your guys? Hopefully, this technology can be improved and we can kill bad guys without having to put any good guys at risk.

Don't really have a ton to say about this article, besides that I enjoyed it lots and it was certainly an interesting read.

For anybody else who was interested, here's a link to Unmanned:

Another solid piece, Mr. Cath. I really enoy your work on the site.

Was Spec Ops: The Line not in the present day? It had all the modern technology and seemed modern day. There was certainly nothing futuristic about it, but it didn't seem like it was set in the past either. This confused me in the game, whether it was set in an alternate past/future or we just have to pretend that as of now, Dubai is covered in sand. It's really not that well explained but overall doesn't really matter, it just bugged me.

Joseph Harrison:
This reminds me of something we discussed in my history class. How many enemy civilians are you willing to kill in order to save one of your guys? Hopefully, this technology can be improved and we can kill bad guys without having to put any good guys at risk.

"Bad guy" is really complicated term
Is the one who is serving the bad guy a bad guy too or not?
or the one who generally supports the bad guy and would gladly serve him or join his ranks?
For example the kid who was promised something in return of serving as reconnaissance?
Or the teenagers who are fighting because of brainwashing and misinformation?
Or the man that joined terrorists only because alternative was starving family (or even dead family)?

Do you have answers? Because most of us don't.

P.S. Although for me it's simple- if it shoots, we shoot back. If it provides the enemy, we capture it.

I appreciated the bold statement that Unmanned was making, but at the same time it made me absolutely furious because it was basically "loaded" choices. The statement the game is trying to make is the the risk of dehumanizing war and it's effects on the UAV operators, bu the dialogue choices are so wildly out of left field they make the player seem like a sociopathic manic depressive. Which is absolutely not fucking true about any of the operators and Airmen I've met in my career. You could find more misanthropic and morose sentiments in a goddamn DMV or post office or any other 9-5 office job besides this one (and just think of all the office shootings in the past decade), and it makes the thematic statement of the game feel trite, forced, and disingenuous in comparison. It deserves praise for being provocative, but just because it chooses to make those provocative statements makes ant-war critics fawn over it when frankly it's execution is glib.

Fantastic article. I imagine this has been a problem ever since the first canon's were invented. Something that could kill people far away that you can't actually see. The one thing you don't mention is how often we have "friendly fire" or "blue-on-blue" if you're British, without unmanned drones.

I think the hardest thing facing soldiers today is that they seem more a police force that an attacking military group. When a soldier in uniform faces another soldier in uniform, there's a complicity in trying to kill each other. When one of those combatants doesn't wear a uniform, but dresses as a civillian, then that's when the psychological toll seems to start. Your enemy can be anyone around you. You are constantly on alert. You mistrust everyone (including your allies who may be insurgent infilitrators). I feel pity for the modern soldier. It doesn't excuse it but it certainly explains why armed forces are pushing the envelope of an "ethical" war.

The more horrifying thought to me is that there's insistence that there is this "enemy" against western society particularly in Middle East and Islamic countries. I know there is, but it's not everyone in those countries. And for every bad guy killed, there's probably 15 friends or relatives, who were largely indifferent to the west, who will now hate us and wish us death. The more you kill, the more enemies you create. That's why capture and trial, difficult and messy as it might be, shows mercy, and a sense of justice.

It's the usual problem though of principal versus practice. The law in the west is based on the principal that it's "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer" is being completely ignored in our current "wars". The idea is that it's better to kill ten innoncents as long as we get one of the guilty.

However, those experts also admitted that the exploit Iran described is a real problem and the scheme would be possible, and stress that fully hijacking and controlling a drone via computer is still in the realm of science fiction.

Science fiction? Maybe in the 30s, when remote-controlled airplanes were science fiction too. If you can make it, someone else can break it. Remote control of anything (ipso facto) allows man-in-the-middle attacks.

That line sounds like spin-bs to me.


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