Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Expensive Killer Robots and Drones

Clear Skies Initiative
Robots and drones are part of modern society that can serve us for good or for evil. However, those advanced devices that can select and kill without human intervention are 'unconscionable,' charged a group of Nobel Prize winners in a statement released May 12, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, on the eve of a multi-day United Nations conference on Inhumane Weapons Convention.

'It is unconscionable that human beings are expanding research and development of lethal machines that would be able to kill without human intervention,' reads the statement signed by a number of peace organizations such as Quakers and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and activists such as Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The statement continues:
'Not all that long ago such weapons were considered the subject of science fiction, Hollywood and video games. But some machines are already taking the place of soldiers on the battlefield. Some experts in the field predict that fully autonomous weapons could be developed within 20 to 30 years; others contend it could even be sooner. With the rapid development of drones and the expansion of their use in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and beyond, billions of dollars are already being spent to research new systems for the air, land, and sea that one day would make drones seem as quaint as the Model T Ford does today.'

Lethality of human life ought to be of central concern, as my ancestors the Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors, proclaimed centuries back. 'Don't point a gun at anyone,' they would say, 'and get rid of weapons once and for all.'

Game of DronesThe American Prospect, Feb, 14, 2013
Killer robots and drones are 'the most expensive weapons system in history', nearly $400 billion or twice what it cost to put a man on the moon. This is a huge amount of money that could be more usefully used for developing and building infrastructure for tranport, health, and happiness. By diverting the money from killing to nonkilling, we can build the society that will benefit people worldwide.

The Drone War, Pro Publica

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire, wrote about this issue, comparing Washington's global military-first strategy and China's civilian-first one which is meant to create a transport and communications system that could economically tie significant parts of the world to that country for decades to come. Perhaps an 8,000-mile line from Beijing via the longest underwater tunnel ever built through Canada to the United States, could be one of the outcomes, according to Chinese engineering dreamers on the high-speed 'silk roads'.

Just think about the huge benefits of imagination in a nonkilling society? The foolish system of war must end!

Join the Nobel Peace Laureates call for preemptive ban on autonomous weapons worldwide. How about banning war itself!


Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse. Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.
The Past and Future of Drones in the U.S. By Criminal Justice Degree Hub, April 2014.

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