|October 27, 2012
Recently, The Washington Post has been running an investigative report on the U.S. military’s shadow wars throughout the Horn of Africa. This report includes an article series on drones, and the most recent installment of this series reveals various declassified incident reports in which drones have went haywire, crashing, misfiring, and in one case a drone even turned itself on.
According to the Washington Post ”In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed. Technicians concluded that a software bug had infected the “brains” of the drone, but never pinpointed the problem. “After that whole starting-itself incident, we were fairly wary of the aircraft and watched it pretty closely,” an unnamed Air Force squadron commander testified to an investigative board, according to a transcript. “Right now, I still think the software is not good.”
Over a year ago this happened and there has still been no word as to the cause, or any indication as to whether or not this was an isolated incident. Even if it was an isolated incident, the fact that it happened once is enough to set a precedent and raise concerns about rouge drones and artificial intelligence becoming independent of human control. This is not any need for mass hysteria or any kind of over reactions, but it also certainly isn’t and issue to be ignored and swept under the rug. Unfortunately, this is what appears to be happening.
Even the mention of this in the Washington post was totally casual, breezing right past the fact that a killing machine had just turned itself on. The comments page on the Washington Posts webpage for this story is also filled with people claiming to be connected to the military, slamming the Paper for “exposing state secrets”. Not necessarily in reference to this particular revelation, but the entire report as a whole.
Typically The Washington Post is a propaganda distributor for the ruling class, but every now and then these heavily controlled and subsidized media outlets manage to put out a gem, even if they don’t call much attention to it. Using drones as weapons of destruction further desensitizes soldiers from the reality of war, and makes it even easier for people to kill one another without compassion.
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J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer and reporter for The Intel Hub and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio.