Drone King

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About Carl Pettit

Carl Pettit is a writer, illustrator and musician whose education and travels have taken him all over the world. When not out exploring, or pondering the universe, he finds time to produce fiction for both adults and children. You can catch up with him on his blog, or twitter.

Comments

  1. wellokaythen says:

    The use of drones is a great reminder of the difference between precision and accuracy. Precision can send a missile through a doorway from 3000 miles away. Accuracy tells you that you sent it through the right door. Accuracy is often a lot easier when there is an actual person near the target and knows what’s going on nearby. We may be seeing a revolution in precision and at the same time a decline in accuracy. Satellites and computers can be totally brilliant and totally stupid at the same time.

    The problem is not the drones by themselves. The problem is that the use of them is too often combined with an over-reliance on SIGINT (signals intelligence, e.g. listening to cellphone chatter) and satellite imagery and not enough on HUMINT (human intelligence gathering). The U.S. government appears to be much better at seeing the world from space than it is at figuring out what people in other countries are thinking and planning. But, that would require politically “messier” things like teaching Americans Arabic, Urdu, etc., which not coincidentally would not be nearly as profitable for private sector companies.

    It’s not just a safety distance that drones provide. They also maintain an illusion of moral purity. You don’t have to deal with human flaws, you don’t have to deal with the ugly moral compromises of espionage and diplomacy, and you don’t have to think so much about the enemy as people. Drones don’t require working out an agreement with people who have close ties to terrorism. You don’t have to recruit those untrustworthy dusky people from those godforsaken parts of the planet to explain to you how their society works.

    I associate this with the growth in the influence of religious fundamentalism in institutions such as the U.S. Air Force. There’s something appealing about drones and high-altitude ops for people who think they have Almighty God on their side and think they are already higher to heaven than the enemy. Something quite biblical about the “death from above” idea.

  2. I will be making my own drone once some cash comes in, to loiter above an area and do aerial photography for my hobby. The technology is so stupidly cheap that ALL countries could have access to very basic drones for surveillance, in the ballpark of 1-2grand for basic UAV + gimbal camera system using wireless tech to show the video on the ground. A guy at the RC field I fly at showed me the goggles he uses for wireless video as he was flying so if he can afford it, a country could. On the flipside drones can be a godsend for searching a wide area for someone missing, delivering goods to hard to reach places, etc.

  3. William says:

    My issues with the use of drones is very simple. War is horrible, a side-effect of the failures of humanity. Anything that makes it easy to forget that you are killing another person, who probably would rather not be there, is dangerous. Dehumanising is natural in war, it’s the only way you can train anyone to kill regularly, but there has to be a limit. If it becomes too easy, then war will be all we know. And forgive for saying this, as the new imperialist power, the U.S show no retains invading countries with real soldiers, I imagine there’d quite happily invade 100 more to keep the rich in power when there’s no chance of a public backlash.

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