Sunday, January 15, 2017

A new kind of war

We have entered the age of a new kind of warfare. An age where there is no human on the trigger of detonating the weapon. At least before the age of terrorism wars were fought declared and the uniforms of brave men were worn proudly and when they went to battle they at times made crucial judgmental calls as to where exactly they would drop bombs or destroy buildings. Not anymore. Syria and ISIS level all buildings in a town. In other parts of the world we at least still have some buildings that have withstood the wrath of wars. We have embarked on a new cruel unforgiving and more lethal brand of death and warfare. Drones.
Over the past 15 years there has been a revolution in the rise of the drones. They now have the capability to be programed to remotely powered conduct air strikes and drop road side bombs.  There is no last minute decision by a reasonable pilot to perhaps change his minds at the last minute. No judgmental calls and no possible human humility involved anymore. This new generation of drones is automatous able to perform on their own just being programed somewhere with a directive.  The machines are run by computers. They make decisions faster and go into dangerous situations without any fear. They are the fleet of spider like machines in the air. You wouldn’t want one to focus on you. Could you escape the wrath of a flying machine with you as the target?
It sounds like a bad science fiction movie but sadly this technology is already a reality. The drones can fly themselves. Humans can simply tell them to patrol say like a 3 mile area. It has opened up a completely different form of warfare and maneuvers. They are called Perdix Drones that can operate in swarms. The once secret Pentagon organization called The Strategic Capabilities Office has developed these drones. Perdix is named after a bird found in Greek Mythology. The drones are a big as your hand and they look like a toy. They can fly fast and high. It was developed by MIT engineers Lincoln Labs. Perdix is designed to operate as a team. They are programed a mission as a group of 8 drones to seek and destruct. The drones can communicate with each other. They can sort out problems faster than a human.

They are cheap and expendable so there is no great loss if they crash to the ground unlike the expensive fighter jets. They can be equipped  with electronic transmitters to jam enemy radar.  They have a 1 out of 10,000 chance of being wrong. It will be a technological advantage in combat situations. It will be about 3 years before these new weapons will be ready for the battlefield. The engineers are looking into defense cap abilities for the airborne robots. Yes, maybe they will be able to shoot back too. The question is, how much human judgement will be displayed in this new kind of weapon? 

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