NSA's SKYNET Program May Be Killing Innocents, and Tested in MMOs

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Czann:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.

Annnnnnd that makes the US Government any better? Okay this is a Religion & Politics discussion but innocent people could be targeted. I know the talk of violence and war is the norm in this day and age and civilians to a soldiers death is often used by the media to create a twisted result for different motives, is often brought up and then forgotten but where and when the hell will the bloodshed end? When will we, as fucking humans, decide not every day argument needs blood to prove a point.

I dunno. Maybe I am stupid and crazy.

9/11. That day and event in history changed everything.

Czann:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.

We could just nuke ISIS hotspots and be done with it.

Terrorism does not justify murder, on any side. Fighting turrists by murdering anyone you can't even say might be a suspect of being a friend of a friend of a friend of someone who might be a turrist, doesn't exactly make the problem better. I can fight crime in LA by murdering everyone who associates with suspected gang members and so on ad nauseam, but that doesn't mean I'm actually doing anything other than murdering people and making an enemy of everyone.

Christ Almighty. Thank God I live in Australia. If I were in the middle east, my cousin and I would be targets just from how much we talk about terrorism in general.

Okay, its bad enough that the NSA's shady dealings are making us look back, why did they have to pick SKYNET as a name for their drones? Seriously? Did no one realize how bad an idea that was?

Creator002:
Christ Almighty. Thank God I live in Australia. If I were in the middle east, my cousin and I would be targets just from how much we talk about terrorism in general.

If this sort of thing happened in the US (an 'allied' superpower being 'allowed' to operate armed drones in our airspace) do you know how many false positives there'd be? There are lots of people who like to go hunting in the US, or even just go out into the woods with a group of their friends to do some shooting and hang out. Those are exactly the kind of things (military-aged men out and about with guns) that US drone operators look for when they do signature strikes.

I'd argue that someone in Afghanistan (or rural Pakistan) needs to own a gun far more than anyone in America. ...Because they live in goddamned Afghanistan (or rural Pakistan).

I have a hard time believing this. Or rather, the details, that the US is a bit blaise about killing the wrong brown people in someone else's country (or hell, their own) isn't news.

Creator002:
Christ Almighty. Thank God I live in Australia. If I were in the middle east, my cousin and I would be targets just from how much we talk about terrorism in general.

Depends how competent they are. They might just hit randoms instead due to bad info.

Czann:
Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Actually that's very consistent. It's not about who's doing the cold-blooded murder. It's about stopping cold blooded murder. In this thread we're talking about attacking people who we have no idea if they're civilians while being clearly around civilians, murdering first responders for funsies, operating lethal force without the permission of sovereign nations or any sort of international authorization, and an organization that's the gene-spliced clone of Kafka and Orwell.

This would be a case of "he who fights monsters" but at this point I'm not sure any of these organizations had any good motives going in.

MCerberus:

Czann:
Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Actually that's very consistent. It's not about who's doing the cold-blooded murder. It's about stopping cold blooded murder. In this thread we're talking about attacking people who we have no idea if they're civilians while being clearly around civilians, murdering first responders for funsies, operating lethal force without the permission of sovereign nations or any sort of international authorization, and an organization that's the gene-spliced clone of Kafka and Orwell.

This would be a case of "he who fights monsters" but at this point I'm not sure any of these organizations had any good motives going in.

I'd also add that if you want to take morals out of the debate completely and look at this with pure, 100% political cynicism... it's still not a winning strategy. Every false-positive, every signature strike that creates collateral damage (even if we give it the benefit of the doubt that the target was a badguy), that only creates more enemies for us in the long run. How is killing one known terrorist, while blowing up a dozen civilians in the process, something that is maintainable as a viable military strategy? Short of accidentally killing the future leader of Al Qaeda a decade before he would have come to power... you're basically just pissing around, bonking random people on the head with missiles and hoping that they're important (which you have no way of verifying, because you don't even know who you were killing to begin with most of the time).

The subject of collateral damage in war is a tough, often very gray subject. The allied bombing raids in WWII killed civilians by the thousands, but they also did actually serve broader strategic goals that wound up bringing an end to the war. What the hell is the drone-strike program accomplishing? Oh, you killed an actual terrorist this time? Well who was he? Was he a local officer or just a run of the mill grunt with no broader influence? Oh, you don't know you say? How many civilians did you also kill in this operation? What was the overall net-positive to the war against (insert terrorist group here)?

Assassination attempts against key, *known* terrorists is one thing. Especially if they are known officers and/or organizers. But taking potshots at random people you think might be terrorists maybe, without any way to actually verify if they were and more importantly if their death was *strategically important*, that's just gambling.

The fuck? They actually called it SKYNET? I'd just love to have been at that meeting. Shit, there really is such a thing as tempting fate!

"as well as death squads"

Aaaand this article jsut lost all its credibility.

Bat Vader:
I feel like them naming it Skynet was meant to be a joke and I feel like people are taking the name more seriously than it needs to be.

There's no way they named it Skynet by accident. That's what makes it funny.

The joke would be a lot funnier if it wasn't about killing people

rcs619:
I'd also add that if you want to take morals out of the debate completely and look at this with pure, 100% political cynicism... it's still not a winning strategy. Every false-positive, every signature strike that creates collateral damage (even if we give it the benefit of the doubt that the target was a badguy), that only creates more enemies for us in the long run. How is killing one known terrorist, while blowing up a dozen civilians in the process, something that is maintainable as a viable military strategy? Short of accidentally killing the future leader of Al Qaeda a decade before he would have come to power... you're basically just pissing around, bonking random people on the head with missiles and hoping that they're important (which you have no way of verifying, because you don't even know who you were killing to begin with most of the time).

The subject of collateral damage in war is a tough, often very gray subject. The allied bombing raids in WWII killed civilians by the thousands, but they also did actually serve broader strategic goals that wound up bringing an end to the war. What the hell is the drone-strike program accomplishing? Oh, you killed an actual terrorist this time? Well who was he? Was he a local officer or just a run of the mill grunt with no broader influence? Oh, you don't know you say? How many civilians did you also kill in this operation? What was the overall net-positive to the war against (insert terrorist group here)?

Assassination attempts against key, *known* terrorists is one thing. Especially if they are known officers and/or organizers. But taking potshots at random people you think might be terrorists maybe, without any way to actually verify if they were and more importantly if their death was *strategically important*, that's just gambling.

Eh, all that is why I say you go all-in and just glass the Middle East. Just wipe the slate clean.

RJ 17:
Eh, all that is why I say you go all-in and just glass the Middle East. Just wipe the slate clean.

In the context that the US in constantly shooting itself in the foot by making its own enemies

"Genocide, because not murdering people is too hard"

edit- oh god I just realized that actually does describe too much of US history.

RJ 17:
Eh, all that is why I say you go all-in and just glass the Middle East. Just wipe the slate clean.

Well, that would certainly wipe the slate clean.

When a nuclear weapon detonates, it throws large amounts of soot and tiny particles of radioactive material (called "fallout") into the upper atmosphere. The more powerful the bomb, the more material is displaced. Most of the soot will fall to earth within a few hours or days as "black rain". The rest of the material can stay in the atmosphere for much longer, potentially years or even decades.

So what you have is a cloud or blanket of black soot orbitting the earth in the upper atmosphere. Again, the stronger the detonation the larger the cloud, and with many large detonations the cloud becomes large and thick enough to impact on global weather patterns. This is what we call a "nuclear winter". Basically, the more bombs you detonate, the colder the surface of the earth becomes and the less sunlight it receives.

Nuclear winter is difficult to estimate because there has never been a large enough nuclear war to estimate, but in order to completely destroy or "glass" a region of 8 million square miles you'd need to detonate a lot of bombs. This would certainly lower the global surface temperature by several degrees, which doesn't sound that bad but it's offset by the equatorial regions which would be comparatively less impacted than temperate regions. The temperature drop in the US and Europe, for example, would probably be double figures. To put this into perspective, the average temperature of the USA would be around the same as Siberia today. Except that the actual ammount of sunlight would be even lower than Siberia.

So yeah, you would starve to death.

If you're genuinely lacking in basic human feeling enough to think that genocide is a good idea, don't try to conceal the monstrosity of your sick fantasies by hiding them behind the relatively clean image of a massive explosion.

Be honest about what your genocidal fantasies are. They're just fantasies about murder. You like the idea of killing people. That's what you are, and no spin you put on it will make it better.

Gee, I wonder why the rest of the world hates Americans.
But it's probably for no good reason. It's not like you guys elected the shitheads who do this. Nope.

evilthecat:
If you're genuinely lacking in basic human feeling enough to think that genocide is a good idea, don't try to conceal the monstrosity of your sick fantasies by hiding them behind the relatively clean image of a massive explosion.

Be honest about what your genocidal fantasies are. They're just fantasies about murder. You like the idea of killing people. That's what you are, and no spin you put on it will make it better.

Wow...you took my flippant comment entirely too seriously. People like you are why I absolutely love these forums. :D

RedRockRun:
"as well as death squads"

Aaaand this article jsut lost all its credibility.

usage of death squads have been confirmed from hillary email scandal just look it up (you may need to use wayback machine to access some of them since quite few of the emails were removed earlier this week mere days after they were released online)
incase you are not familiar with term here is wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_squad

drakonz:

RedRockRun:
"as well as death squads"

Aaaand this article jsut lost all its credibility.

usage of death squads have been confirmed from hillary email scandal just look it up (you may need to use wayback machine to access some of them since quite few of the emails were removed earlier this week mere days after they were released online)
incase you are not familiar with term here is wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_squad

TF373 has been labeled by some journalists as a death squad even though it has nothing to do with political repression, genocide or revolutionary terror. They labeled it a death squad because of a friendly fire accident in the dark with an Afghan police unit and the death of seven non-combatants when they targeted a village where a top Taliban leader was believed to be hiding.

I've not seen the Hillary e-mails that supposedly "confirm deathsquads" but if it's any kind of "confirmation" like that, then the headlines should read, "BREAKING: Every military unit ever confirmed as terrorist deathsquad!"

KoudelkaMorgan:
Especially not the Escapist, as they are most known for their close governmental ties and hard hitting exposes on government overreach and not say quizzes to determine which Undertale character you'd pretend to makes small talk with in an elevator..

1) Our publisher and founder went to West Point (the US Military Academy) and Harvard Law School. During that time he did work for DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency).
2) Our VP of Sales went to West Point, worked in military intelligence, won a Bronze Star, and has a top secret security clearance.
3) The two of them were officers of the West Point Wargames Committee, and other committee members we knew later went on to work for RAND, the Special Forces, and other organizations,
4) The original CTO of Themis Group (our parent company) was a DoD programmer with a top secret clearance who worked on the Predator and the Paladin.
5) Our sister site EveryJoe publishes the work of a retired Colonel and former professor of the Army War College.
6) Our founding EIC is married to a former professor of the Naval War College.

So, yes, we do in fact have a lot of government ties -- as well as great quizzes about Undertale.

Archon:

KoudelkaMorgan:
Especially not the Escapist, as they are most known for their close governmental ties and hard hitting exposes on government overreach and not say quizzes to determine which Undertale character you'd pretend to makes small talk with in an elevator..

1) Our publisher and founder went to West Point (the US Military Academy) and Harvard Law School. In his 20s he worked for DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency).
2) Our VP of Sales went to West Point, worked in military intelligence, won a Bronze Star, and has a top secret security clearance.
3) The two of them were officers of the West Point Wargames Committee, and other committee members we knew later went on to work for RAND, the Special Forces, and other organizations,
4) The original CTO of Themis Group (our parent company) was a DoD programmer with a top secret clearance who worked on the Predator and the Paladin.
5) Our sister site EveryJoe publishes the work of a retired Colonel and former professor of the Army War College.
6) Our founding EIC is married to a former professor of the Naval War College.

So, yes, we do in fact have a lot of government ties -- as well as great quizzes about Undertale.

Thanks for that response Archon, informative and witty!

Diablo1099:
...They seriously had to call it Skynet, didn't they?

I would say that was someone who had the power to name it but not kill it making a statement, a statement that will have been entirely lost on the old, out of touch hawks slavering over the possibility of entirely automated intelligence gathering and target acquisition.

Speaking of which, based on that flagging system, if communicating with a flagged individual also flags you, eventually SKYNET will consider every person on the planet be flagged. That has some... interesting implications.

Your Republican primary is reminiscent of a reality TV show, and your military is reminiscent of a doomsday movie. I think you guys need to get a little distance from your media.

Really though, even if the claims in this article weren't accurate. Can you imagine what the reaction in the US would be if any other country in the world was flying drones over America and assassinating their civilians? Even if they were pretty sure they were getting bad guys?

Czann:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.

You can probably blame my upbringing for that...along with watching a lot of Star Trek in the 90's:

"You made a military decision to protect your ship and crew. But you're a Starfleet officer, Worf. We don't put civilians at risk or even potentially at risk to save ourselves. Sometimes that means we lose the battle, and sometimes our lives. But if you can't make that choice, then you can't wear that uniform."
-Benjamin Sisko

If finding such lines inspiring makes me a dewy-eyed idealist, so be it.

RJ 17:

evilthecat:
If you're genuinely lacking in basic human feeling enough to think that genocide is a good idea, don't try to conceal the monstrosity of your sick fantasies by hiding them behind the relatively clean image of a massive explosion.

Be honest about what your genocidal fantasies are. They're just fantasies about murder. You like the idea of killing people. That's what you are, and no spin you put on it will make it better.

Wow...you took my flippant comment entirely too seriously. People like you are why I absolutely love these forums. :D

Poe's Law is complicated by a political primary season where candidates have mentioned they were up for such an idea before casually mentioning that they'd engage in actions that would directly lead to WW3.

So the reason your post is taken seriously is because people actually think actions that would lead to the end of humanity are a good idea, and we're all sick of them cluttering our facebook feeds.

MCerberus:
Poe's Law is complicated by a political primary season where candidates have mentioned they were up for such an idea before casually mentioning that they'd engage in actions that would directly lead to WW3.

So the reason your post is taken seriously is because people actually think actions that would lead to the end of humanity are a good idea, and we're all sick of them cluttering our facebook feeds.

Easy fix for that, my friend: delete your Facebook account. Problem solved. :3

Neverhoodian:

Czann:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.

You can probably blame my upbringing for that...along with watching a lot of Star Trek in the 90's:

"You made a military decision to protect your ship and crew. But you're a Starfleet officer, Worf. We don't put civilians at risk or even potentially at risk to save ourselves. Sometimes that means we lose the battle, and sometimes our lives. But if you can't make that choice, then you can't wear that uniform."
-Benjamin Sisko

If finding such lines inspiring makes me a dewy-eyed idealist, so be it.

I think that's a pretty powerful line actually. Star Trek is the best "Star something" we have.

RJ 17:

MCerberus:
Poe's Law is complicated by a political primary season where candidates have mentioned they were up for such an idea before casually mentioning that they'd engage in actions that would directly lead to WW3.

So the reason your post is taken seriously is because people actually think actions that would lead to the end of humanity are a good idea, and we're all sick of them cluttering our facebook feeds.

Easy fix for that, my friend: delete your Facebook account. Problem solved. :3

So would I like to be surprised by the depths of idiocy screeching forth from the depths of the infinite echo chambers or be put into a situation to genuinely empathize with Cassandra from the Iliad?

I never imagined social media would turn everything into a Greek tragedy.
Other than Narcissus. Everyone saw that one coming.

You know, I'm just going to Nazi the shit out of this: I blame Operation Paperclip.

Seriously, Hydra used a more high-tech version of this plan in Cap 2. What the ever-living fuck.

Neverhoodian:

Czann:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.

You can probably blame my upbringing for that...along with watching a lot of Star Trek in the 90's:

"You made a military decision to protect your ship and crew. But you're a Starfleet officer, Worf. We don't put civilians at risk or even potentially at risk to save ourselves. Sometimes that means we lose the battle, and sometimes our lives. But if you can't make that choice, then you can't wear that uniform."
-Benjamin Sisko

If finding such lines inspiring makes me a dewy-eyed idealist, so be it.

Star Trek is one of my great loves but it certainly does make you an idealist, to be sure. DS9 also had another powerful moment I remember and it was one I learned very well myself when I served. Kira Nerys talked at some length about how if they refused to make any attack that would potentially or even certainly lead to the death of innocent people, the Cardassians would have just made sure every target was shielded by innocent people. At that point, she said they might as well just have given up.

Kira is right and Sisko's speech is foolish.

I think the main thing to take away from all this is "May be targeting" not "is" or "has" so don't go all crazy assuming they're just flying around out there bombing people with no human oversight. Sounds like it's a work in progress.

But seriously.. Skynet guys? Really?

MCerberus:

RJ 17:

MCerberus:
Poe's Law is complicated by a political primary season where candidates have mentioned they were up for such an idea before casually mentioning that they'd engage in actions that would directly lead to WW3.

So the reason your post is taken seriously is because people actually think actions that would lead to the end of humanity are a good idea, and we're all sick of them cluttering our facebook feeds.

Easy fix for that, my friend: delete your Facebook account. Problem solved. :3

So would I like to be surprised by the depths of idiocy screeching forth from the depths of the infinite echo chambers or be put into a situation to genuinely empathize with Cassandra from the Iliad?

I never imagined social media would turn everything into a Greek tragedy.
Other than Narcissus. Everyone saw that one coming.

Eh, just do what I do and live by this motto: "One can only laugh at a world gone insane lest they go insane as well."

Looking at the state of current events, it's a wonder more people haven't turned to Nihilism.

Gorrath:

Star Trek is one of my great loves but it certainly does make you an idealist, to be sure. DS9 also had another powerful moment I remember and it was one I learned very well myself when I served. Kira Nerys talked at some length about how if they refused to make any attack that would potentially or even certainly lead to the death of innocent people, the Cardassians would have just made sure every target was shielded by innocent people. At that point, she said they might as well just have given up.

Kira is right and Sisko's speech is foolish.

Using my sci-fi crush as a compelling counter-argument...well played...though I would point out that the Bajorans were the paramilitary organization in that conflict, and the Cardassians never attempted to take the moral high ground.

And just to play devil's advocate on myself, my quote came from the same character who went on to poison an entire world to stop the Maquis (to say nothing of compromising his morals and becoming an accessory to murder in an attempt to tip the balance of the Dominion War). DS9 is filled with instances like this, where the squeaky-clean ideals collide with cold, harsh reality and don't always survive the encounter.

I'm not totally naive. I realize that sometimes the rules have to be bent to accomodate extraordinary situations. However, I believe such actions should only be taken as a last resort, not made commonplace. We should strive to be better than that.

Neverhoodian:

Gorrath:

Star Trek is one of my great loves but it certainly does make you an idealist, to be sure. DS9 also had another powerful moment I remember and it was one I learned very well myself when I served. Kira Nerys talked at some length about how if they refused to make any attack that would potentially or even certainly lead to the death of innocent people, the Cardassians would have just made sure every target was shielded by innocent people. At that point, she said they might as well just have given up.

Kira is right and Sisko's speech is foolish.

Using my sci-fi crush as a compelling counter-argument...well played...though I would point out that the Bajorans were the paramilitary organization in that conflict, and the Cardassians never attempted to take the moral high ground.

And just to play devil's advocate on myself, my quote came from the same character who went on to poison an entire world to stop the Maquis (to say nothing of compromising his morals and becoming an accessory to murder in an attempt to tip the balance of the Dominion War). DS9 is filled with instances like this, where the squeaky-clean ideals collide with cold, harsh reality and don't always survive the encounter.

I'm not totally naive. I realize that sometimes the rules have to be bent to accomodate extraordinary situations. However, I believe such actions should only be taken as a last resort, not made commonplace. We should strive to be better than that.

It's funny you mention that about the Cardassians since Kira was specifically talking to a Cardassian officer about attacking a Dominion-held post that held innocent Cardassians. Specifically, Kira's plan had a high likelyhood of leading to the death of some of the civilians that were present at the outpost. The Cardassian officer she was working with told her that, unlike Bajorans, Cardassians actually cared about innocent people and wouldn't kill their own. Cue Kira's speech about the consequences of such a policy. In the end, the attack commenced as planned.

It's what I love so much about Star Trek, a lot of tough philosophical questions and no character's high ideals ever come out of the show totally unscathed. (It's also why I hate these Abrams movies.) I love the idealism; we should always strive to be the best, most moral people we can. Believe me when I tell you most of us tried very hard to live up to moral idealism but people just do not understand how impossible it is to make instant decisions based on incomplete and sometimes conflicting information while under fire. We have rules of engagement to help make these decisions but war is a messy business. It's why my feathers get all fluffed up when people condemn military men and women for the loss of civilian lives in a broad sense. The vast majority of the time we either have no idea its happening or have no other choice. It's hard enough to deal with those deaths as it is, on a personal level, without people back home acting like you're a evil villain. Not that that sentiment is directed at you of course, you've been great fun to chat with and cheers for it!

I just noticed something somewhat horrifying in the thumbnail for this article

I can't be the only person who sees this

Czann:
What I find funny is people's reaction to this.

Terrorists murder an awful lot of people in cold blood: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Government does something to stop terrorists: "OH NOES! We need to do something to stop this."

Sigh... Just give the keys of the White House to ISIS and be done with it.

Or, you know, you could do something about it without using programs that has massive amounts of false indentification. heck, it flags turning your phone off as a red flag, something i do every week despite not being a terrorist.

Also terrorists murder count in the west is less than die in car accidents every year. but since terrorists very successfully managed to get people to panic about it (tip: that means they already won) we do all this nonsense.

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