A prominent artificial intelligence expert has urged that president Obama is setting a horrendous precedent by embracing drone technology as a means of covert warfare.
Professor Noel Sharkey of Sheffield University, penned a piece in The Guardian today that slams the use of missile strikes using unmanned ariel vehicles, warning that what we are seeing is just the beginning of “the industrial revolution of war.”
Sharkey notes that the CIA is thought to have killed anywhere up to 1035 civilians in drone strikes outside of legitimate war zones in the last eight years, including 200 children.“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 professor asks.
“Obama is establishing a dangerous precedent that is, at best, legally questionable in a world where more than 50 countries are acquiring the technology.” he adds.
Sharkey warns that in a modern day arms race, other countries such as Israel, India, Russia and especially China are racing to develop and export armed attack drones.
“Given the 10-year spate of CIA drone strikes, what can be said when other countries use drone strikes against perceived threats in other states?” Sharkey asks.
Sharkey, a founding member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), also noted that current drones are “like the Wright brothers’ prototypes compared to what’s coming next.”
“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.” he writes, noting that automated drones have been under development since at least 2004.