The New Yorker recently ran “Remote Control: Our Drone Delusion,” in which one phrase rings true to me: terrorism is ultimately a political problem. The current wave of terrorism will subside, but drones will stay with us. They will become Do-It-Yourself items. They will even leave the skies and take to the ground. The antecedents are already in place: Sony has built a humanoid running robot and researchers are working on mind-machine interfaces to control prostheses. Put them together and you have something like “soldierboys”, the remotely operated robot infantry of Joe Haldeman’s 1997 science fiction novel Forever Peace. In the not too distant future our soldiers may put on their interface suits and kill people thousands of miles away. Until the technology becomes so widespread that our adversaries can do it to us.
Fortunately the world is getting more peaceful, according to Goldstein (2011). Let’s hope that trend wins.
Goldstein, Joshua S. 2011. Think Again: War. Foreign Policy. Sept/Oct. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/08/15/think_again_war, accessed 5/9/2013.