Recently I read some old articles that I had laying around the house pertaining to drones, and though they were a little outdated, it really got me thinking about drones and their role in our modern world. With drones becoming more and more popular for consumers, we have to remember where they came from, and what there global adoption means for modern warfare.
In any society dating back to the beginning of time there is evidence, that those with the greatest technologies, likewise had the greatest influence and control. Under this notion one would assume that those with the most power, would do what was possible to not relinquish this authority, including using said technologies to further their control. In historical times, this concept faced little opposition, but when we take technology especially in terms of war, from the introduction of gunpowder to modern day UAV drone ships, you can begin to see where the argument develops. Today I will take a further look into the idea of unmanned ships and their implication on the culture of war, and project where this may take us.
Drone ships, or as they are commonly referred to as UAV’s, are one of the worlds most advanced technologies. Their unmatched aeronautical design and on board equipment makes them ideal for a myriad of applications, especially their intended use, war. Though it doesn’t seem very war-like when it’s man verse robot, but drone ships nonetheless claim the lives of many people every year, with little to no implications to the pilot. Though controversial, this trend of unmanned drones is becoming ever more popular in the United States, and within U.N. forces. With some projecting that drones may soon outnumber actual manned aircraft. Justified on the grounds that it is simply a tool, and essentially a step in the evolutionary track of technology. However, many skeptics, especially those concerned with the ethics of war, are raising their eyebrows to this trend and the foreseeable controversy it poses.
We have seen war change for decades, so why question its nature now? No one really consents to the idea of death and destruction, but it’s just a necessary evil in getting needed results, Right? So shouldn’t countries citizens follow the introduction of new technologies with support, since it will aid in their safety? Well according to one of the articles I read, the real contention with all of this is due to the fact that drones offer an entirely new way of waging war. The cost and risk of war is dramatically reduced, leading many analyst to speculate that it will contribute to more warfare, because of the reduced barriers of war (cost, risk). So much so, that it could be seen as terrorism, since engaging in acts of war becomes so seamless. Though this is far different than most of us would like to perceive our military actions here in the U.S., I think it raises interesting points that we must address as Americans going forward. We need to recognize the realization that things do not always manifest as we intend them too, but rather based on processes that can be quite hard to predict. In this case I don’t believe, or I chose not to believe that we intended to construct a device in which to wage acts of terror, but rather an unseen process created that outcome. So now the question becomes, how do we re-direct where we are heading, without leaving ourselves vulnerable in the process?
The debate on UAV’s does not start and end on the battlefield like most would assume. The low risk, high value machines are being recognized for their use in many sectors, even those entirely unrelated to war. Not surprisingly this technology to monitor and survey our enemies abroad has found many uses by the police in helping to monitor the public. This mere fact seems to startle people including myself, because what institutions are in place to govern how the police use this really powerful technology. If UAV’s have the ability to increase the functionality of our police force wouldn’t it seem foolish not to use it? But to what extent will we allow technology, especially that which is unmanned to monitor and control us? Is there something inherently wrong about this idea of Robocop’s, or can this be seen as unsubstantiated claims made by paranoid minds?
In my opinion, the U.S. and their new tools are comparable to giving a child a gun, though the gun has needed and intended purposes, a child will wield it with minimal responsibility and accountability. Until legislation as sophisticated as the technology itself is mandated on the use and application of UAV’s, I think its functions should be strongly limited. If not, I fear we will allow the technology itself to help dictate and construct future law. I think we would be extremely foolish if we did not question the integrity of this profound technology, and its possible aid in constructing a police state.
Though the repercussions of these unmanned ships are not typically seen near home, critics seem to think we will see them soon enough, if not already. This may come in the form of new adversaries, or hostility, since we can now conduct war on many fronts, relatively seamlessly. It may also be seen in the introduction of these technologies in your own community, keeping everyone safe, by keeping an eye on everyone. Based on the notion that those with the most power would do what was possible to not relinquish this authority, including using said technologies to further their control; we should not see any of this as a surprise. As societies continue to grow, we will see technology take many faces and roles in our lives, but as citizens it is our responsibility to recognize what is beneficial, and what is potentially harmful. The distinction between these two will not always be obvious, but with a clear and conscious global perspective I believe we can assess what should and shouldn’t be done.
I believe most future technology will pose similar issues, and we can’t possibly shun out every new advent because it’s potentially dangerous. We as humans will need to learn to be responsible with technology or else it will be our demise. I think drones offer our society a lot of benefits, but its ability to spy and wage ware is extremely alarming.
Hopefully I didn’t scare you, but lets be honest, we need to get a handle on how drones are used by our government.