One afternoon last fall at Fort Benning, Ga., two model-size planes took off, climbed to 800 and 1,000 feet, and began criss-crossing the military base in search of an orange, green and blue tarp.
After 20 minutes, one of the aircraft, carrying a computer that processed images from an onboard camera, zeroed in on the tarp and contacted the second plane, which flew nearby and used its own sensors to examine the colorful object. Then one of the aircraft signaled to an unmanned car on the ground so it could take a final, close-up look.
This article raises all kinds of questions about the future of warfare and the security and privacy of Americans or any citizens whose government develops these robotic drones.
We use them on our Mexican border to monitor illegal drug trade and no one minds that. In fact, it’s a good idea in areas of man-power and safety, for instance. We’re using them in Pakistan and other middle eastern nations, with bombs on board.
But the idea that these robotic drones can work in packs and communicate to each other regarding targets to monitor, for instance American citizens, is frightening. It’s bad enough that we have closed circuit television on us at an increasingly high rate but this is even beyond that invasion. The scientific community is developing spy drones that are the size of insects. Gee that’s great – if we’re spying on Americas enemies but what if they are used to spy on citizens?
Or just as bad – what if a hostile foreign government uses them inside our borders, to spy on us?