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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Technology applied to war

The same technology advances that improves our computers and communication also constantly improves the killing power at all levels, whether the U.S. Air Force, insurgents or unconventionals.

Drones, warfare and videogames.
Talking to my friend, a military expert, I learned that fighters with real pilots will be rare in the future. That most air battles will be fought with drones.
So instead of “the best pilots”, in the future what the air force will need, is amazing video game players to guide drones.
Indeed use of drones is already common in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Now what surprised me was to find out that drone operators are suffering from more war stress syndrome than real pilots, a lot of it is from the thought of killing innocent people.
As bad as it sounds I think this is good news.
It shows humanity in them. I think that pilots are stressed enough but when they kill they are also at risk, so maybe they have less remorse.
Pilots are like toreros, they have the upper hand, but they can also die.
Drone operators are like toreros outside the arena. They just zap the bull.

Personally I don’t share other people’s fascination with high tech war. I know there are bad people out there, Osama Bin Laden and others who want us dead and if they could they would nuke us. But I also know that in the last 10 years we have lost the moral high ground that we had after 9-11, we have committed a lot of atrocities, and if anything there are more terrorists now than there were 10 years ago.
And as excited as some people may be with drones I think they make us in USA and EU look like terrorists. Moreover we armed Osama with Sting missiles and we suffer for it.
These drones will sooner or later be used by Hamas, Hezbollah, and war will escalate much further.
I see war as inevitably more lethal. That will hold from Sudan to Xinjiang.
Being a technologist gives me no special wisdom on how to achieve that peace, but as a technologist I've learned that the tools - including those of war - will predictably become more effective.
Beyond drones and better rockets, I fear what can soon be produced even in a high school biology laboratory.

Dave Burstein
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