Sunday, August 5, 2012

Drone race will ultimately lead to a sanitised factory of slaughter

"The CIA has killed more than 200 children in drone strikes outside of legitimate war zones since 2004, it is alleged. In Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia an estimated total of between 451 and 1,035 civilians were killed in at least 373 strikes according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the most accurate source of "kill statistics".

Who in their right mind would give a powerful unmanned air force to a covert organisation with such a track record for unaccountable and illegal killing? The number of strikes in Pakistan has dramatically increased from 52 under George W Bush during his five years of conflict to 282 during Obama's three and a half-year watch. Obama is establishing a dangerous precedent that is, at best, legally questionable in a world where more than 50 countries are acquiring the technology.This is big business with billions of dollars at stake."

"Here is where the real danger resides: automated killing as the final step in the industrial revolution of war – a clean factory of slaughter with no physical blood on our hands and none of our own side killed"

"We have records of civilian casualties, including numerous children, from drone strikes when there are humans watching on computer screens and deciding when to fire. Think how much worse it will be when drones deal death automatically. Is this really a technology we want the secret intelligence services of the world to control?"

- Noel Sharkey, professor of AI & robotics at Sheffield University 

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