Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Here come the robot sailors…

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…or ghost-frigates, to use The Register’s term for a new drone anti-submarine vessel project proposed by DARPA. The march of military robotics (pun intended) continues, with new questions and still no answers to the previous ones (like ethics). A few, in this case –

1.  Could a foreign navy simply “pick up” a drone at sea, claiming that it constituted a hazard to navigation? How would you disentangle those claims?

2.  Could you spoof a drone’s communications, or block them entirely? Could you “turn” a drone to lead you to a manned, parent vessel?  (Have doubts? Intercepts have already happened.)

3.  If a drone is sunk, what would the consequences be? Would you be willing to risk armed conflict (between manned vessels) over the loss of an unmanned drone?

I can’t help but think that a future U.S. Secretary of State will one day make a speech about the norms needed to govern the use of robotics in warfare…well after the robotics arms race is underway.

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Written by Mark

February 2, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Posted in Military & Security

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