Do drones dream of flying carpets?

Posted on May 28, 2012

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Illustration for an article (in Spanish) about the latest gimmick of the armies and security forces in the first world: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) better known as” drones “.  The article was largely based on others published by The New Yorker (membership needed) and The New York Times. Journalism talked a lot of drones (such as the “Predator”) role in the detection of Bin Laden and the overthrow of Gadhafi. But go much further.

Two facts seem noteworthy:

1) As of today, there are being trained more computer operators to run military-combat operations by these aircraft, than fighter pilots for manned ones; and not a single new manned aircraft project is on the drawing board. In a way, the military are materializing the dystopia of the novel by Philip K. Dick and the film Blade Runner alluded to in the title of the post. These droids are not in human form, but the fantasy that runs through the neurons of the military is to wage war without investing human material with its unpleasant side effects of annoying coffins draped in Stars and Stripes. In addition, current legislation does not require congressional authorization process to send their toys to action. We should ask whether the massacres of innocent people due to their remote operators’ mistakes are also excused from apologizing. Pakistan is still waiting in vain.

2) “The Air Force will ask later this month for a regulatory regime that enables police departments to small flying drones, and military contractors will hit eighteen thousand potential new customers. The police had so far little presence in the air because of the cost of airplanes and helicopters; drones will be cheaper”, to quote verbatim the article. The kind of police work just cited below (fires, rescues) seem more like a joke. If the police will have these gadgets, we know very well what they will use it for: to control the civilian population of the country. The future peaceful activists of the Occupy movement should be aware right now.

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