I have seen the future and it’s still unmanned

Posted: July 5, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , , , , ,

William Wan and Peter Finn, writing at the Washington Post, tell us that aviation’s hottest sector is UAVs.  I’m shocked, shocked!

More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is exporting weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies.

“This is the direction all aviation is going,” said Kenneth Anderson, a professor of law at American University…

So who are the nation-states being talked about?  On the manufacturing and/or export side, the U.S., Israel, China (one Chinese UAV looks like a Predator and another looks like a Global Hawk—what are the odds?!), Russia, and maybe Iran.  On the demand side, among those 50 countries are Pakistan (armed UAVs and buying from China, go figure) and soon, traditional U.S. defense industry customers like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt.

What’s the solution to these amoral mechanical beasts prowling the otherwise friendly skies?  According to university professor Noel Sharkey, it’s (wait for it…) arms control.  Specifically, the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.  I got a fee-vah and the only prescription is more arms control! 

And is there a space lesson here?  You’d think so: if robotics are the way ahead in aviation, it’s likely true in space as well.  If so, the real space future is still unmanned. 

Why?  life in space is harmful to children and other living things.

(Photo from Global Military.com)



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