When we look at technology today, it’s not hard to visualize where we can see that technology heading and how it will impact our world. It’s quite evident that right now we are accelerating into the age of artificial intelligence and robotics which will revolutionize the way we live our lives, just like the smartphone has over the past decade. Robots and AI aren't new, they’ve both been used in manufacturing to replace laborious jobs for decades, but we are now starting to see robotics impact our daily lives in many forms, some of which might be a bit disturbing.
The Drone industry is one branch of modern technology which seems to be flourishing right now. While most of it seems harmless enough, when it comes to the military, these things are looking increasingly sinister. Drones being used by the United States to destroy targets abroad is a sensitive subject to say the least. There are countless reports in the past few years of ‘drone strikes’ terrorizing, killing, and destroying targets in the Middle East, which incidentally have largely gone uncovered in the Western media. Like with all technology, placed in the wrong hands it can be used to carry out crimes against humanity and create a world none of us want to live in.
Currently military drones are controlled by operators/pilots that use large HUD screens to fight a war from the comfort and safety of small secured military room. The arrival of the drone has made the need for a pilot to be on-board a jet fighter completely redundant. But what happens when there’s no need for an operator either? Unfortunately we enter a dangerous world where things start to look very sinister indeed.
It;s widely believed that thanks to recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence, AI technology will likely surpass human intelligence in the next 20 years, if not sooner. Just the thought of that should freak the hell out of most of us right? Especially when we have the likes of Elon Musk recently stating that humans need brain interfaces to keep up with AI. A bit like the Terminator and Matrix movies, we could end up creating a monster that eventually ends up wiping out the human race, or at the very least turns us all into some form of battery.
The Office of Naval Research and the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office are currently developing and experimenting with what futurists are calling a “ghost fleet” of unmanned underwater drone boats and their overhead flying drone brothers. In simple terms, a swarm of weaponized military drones that will be used to fight wars and destroy enemy targets. Of course the pros for this technology is that there will be less of a need for ground troops to go overseas and fight their wars, the cons are, everyone be very afraid!
Watching the above video will certainly make you aware of just how dangerous this kind of technology will be, especially if it's used by the wrong people. A few years ago, students at the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania developed a bunch of nano quadrotor drones that worked together off one single hive mind. It’s believed the same technology is being developed by the US Office of Naval Research to carry out military tasks set by a central computer.
At the moment these drones still need human input to program their specific task and mission, however that’s not where this technology is going to stop. Eventually the central computer will be a form of advanced artificial intelligence capable of making its own decisions without the need for human interaction. Although giving complete control of these drones over to a more advanced AI would not be wise, you can bet your bottom dollar it will happen and the human race will be wiped out!