Monday, July 27, 2009

"Flight plan" for Expanding the Air Force of Drones

The Air Force has released a report detailing its anticipated expansion of remotely piloted planes over the coming decades, according to a story in The New York Times. Air Force Report Envisions a Broader Use of Drones opens with:

Small remotely piloted planes are now used mainly to gather intelligence and fire missiles at insurgents. But over the next several decades, the Air Force envisions building larger ones that could do the work of bombers and cargo planes and even tiny ones that could spy inside a room.

The word ethical does appear later in the story in the context of swarming drones that might initiate attacks autonomously.
Perhaps the most controversial is the idea of drones swarming on attack. Advances in computing power could enable them to mount preprogrammed attacks on their own, though that would be a difficult legal and ethical barrier for the military to cross.

No comments: