Part two of what will be several parts.
The Skunk Riot Control Copter comes with four paint ball weapons and a number of visual cameras.
To quote the companies press release The Skunk Riot Control Drone “is designed to control unruly crowds without endangering the lives of the protestors or the security staff.”
The paintball guns fire marker balls that stain skin so the police can round up the rioters, vandals and anyone else in the area hit by accident later. They fire pepper spray rounds just like the police will spray in your faces, well apart from the long range and being fired from a drone flying above you and maybe out of sight.
Nothing harmful there, nothing that could kill you there. As safe as a water cannon.
Oh apart from the rate of fire and the ability to fire solid plastic balls. Anyone who has been paint balling in the deepest winter or who goes up against the kind of prats who ramp up air pressure and put their paintballs in the freezer overnight will be well aware that paint balls freeze and they hurt when they hit you.
Solid plastic rounds, I suspect one of them in the eye is going to do more than just sting. 80 rounds a second from a possible 4,000 round ammo supply, 50 seconds of fully automatic fire, spraying solid rounds across a crowd. I don't know the launch pressure of these things but any government that loads up solid rounds is going to have them running at the maximum possible pressure.
Oh and a laser designator and speakers so they can blind you and shout at you while spraying you with solid rounds.
But don't worry, the Geneva convention bans the use of blinding lasers and loud speakers in combat, oh, not combat you say, a riot or civil disturbance you say. Oh well they are legal to use then, accidents happen after all, its not like they would be aiming for your eyes or face on purpose.
Various governments and military forces have been aware of the potential of robots and drones for some time now. Radio controlled aircraft have been in use as targets since not long after the first world war.
The British had the Larynx which was an aircraft under remote control designed to function as an early and crude cruise missile.
The Americans aside from training anti aircraft gunners were doing research that would lead to them testing remote controlled Ariel torpedoes.
The Germans deployed wire controlled missiles for use against ships.
B17s were turned into radio controlled drones to monitor early atomic tests.
Camera equipped drones were used in Vietnam prior to the use of High altitude and satellite recognisance.
We have reconnaissance drones, bomb disposal robots, cargo carrying drones such as M.U.L.E., helicopter drones, remote controlled or semi autonomous versions of trucks, cars and flying vehicles.
Then we have this:
Since 2001 the Predator has been able to carry and fire air to ground missiles. It has now been seen or is being seen in the skies over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and numerous other places in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.
As many as several thousand people are believed to have been killed by such Drones, many innocent bystanders.
Yes indeed and welcome to the "Playstation Syndrome". Drone control stations are safe, comfortable, air conditioned places with leather chairs, coffee machines and all the luxuries.
Drone controllers are not fighting a war, they are playing a video game, often with worse graphics than the latest shooter type games.
In fact the US military redesigned the drone controllers to make them more familiar to the PlayStation generation who fly them.
Drone technology gives people far distant from the stresses and dangers of combat the ability to reach out and kill people at the touch of a button.
If the drone is destroyed then its just a machine, the pilot is safe and sound, you don’t have to risk your people as casualties or prisoners. Aside from special forces units on the ground your drone controllers can be less well trained or even civilians.
The heat or cold, the dust and the insects, the smell of blood and sweat and death, clothing that hasn’t been changed for a week, 18 hours a day carrying heavy loads, eating nothing but cold army rations. These are all the distractions that a soldier deals with.
But not a drone controller in his air conditioned booth or trailer, Drone controllers work their shift then go for lunch in the canteen or go home to sleep, no discomfort for them unless the AC breaks down.
But it is not this that is the problem.
A soldier all too often sees his enemy or his target, or the aftermath. It is the infantry that look in the faces and eyes of the dead and the dying, it is the burden of soldiers that they know their enemy even as they kill them. A human, a decent human being rather than a machine or deranged killer will hold his fire if his target is an unarmed civilian. A human will hold his fire if there are children in the way.
Yes there are all too many who will simply kill, but the essence of humanity is that killing without reason is wrong. That is why we call them terrorists and murderers and savages.
In the west we pride ourselves on being civilised but in the case of Drones we are not any such thing.
You see a Drone is not a soldier, it is a fairly average computer game. A drone controller is not in combat or fighting a war, he is doing a shift at his game consol. The deliberate efforts of the military to make the job more like playing a game simply leads to people treating it like a game.
How many of you have ever hesitated in a shooter type game because a target has no worthwhile loot, is not a threat and is simply a target off to the side. Unless you are low on ammo I’ll bet very few of you are bothered by the morality of killing pixels on a screen in a computer game.
How can a man sitting in a luxurious leather chair with a coffee or cold drink in a cup holder next to him, holding his playstation controller and looking at a target that is just pixels on a screen be expected to think otherwise.
This is the "Playstation Syndrome". It’s not a problem to kill if the killing isn’t real. Rack up a good score, finish the mission, get missiles on target then go down the bar for a cold one. Women and children, a wedding, no mate, just targets on a screen.
By recruiting from a generation that has become used to online activity, to working and acting and fighting and killing from a monitor and a hand held controller, we are producing an entire generation of remote warriors who are completely divorced from the death and destruction they cause.
It will not matter if the drone is flying over Pakistan or Afghanistan or your home town. If the pilots and controllers are just playing a game there will be little difference between launching a Hellfire at a wedding or spraying a crowd of protestors with solid rounds at maximum power and rate of fire. Just targets on the screen to be knocked down.
The human becomes remote from the action, the deed becomes remote from humanity and what is left is expediency, efficiency, knocking down targets that are in the way.
It is not just Tyrants and police states that will be firing at innocent bystanders or helpless protestors. The US does it now, we civilised Brits just ordered water cannon for London.
When the humans behind the machines are divorced from the consequences of what they do then there becomes little difference between the machine and the man. The "PlayStation Syndrome" in action, its just a game after all.
Peaceful demonstrators putting flowers in the barrels of military police deployed to prevent them marching against Americas involvement in Vietnam.
Human beings on either side of the guns, no one fired, no one died.
Anyone honestly think waving flowers at something like this thing will stop it opening fire if demonstrators refused to disperse.
Anyone honestly believe that a semi autonomous Drone or robot would hesitate to obey its programming because the programming is wrong or that killing would be wrong.
As I mentioned above, even remotely controlled Drones controlled by people far remote from the event and subject to the "Playstation Syndrome" are more likely to open fire than a man standing on the street looking a protester in the face.
Note. This Drone is not real (yet).
Vitaly Bulgarov Black Phoenix Project
Remember this, from the same movie.
What will these look like when you see them driving down the streets of your city?
They are far too late. It is happening now. We civilised wealthy nations are creating machines to fight our battles and control our streets.
In the name of protecting our human soldiers from harm we are working to remove them from our battles and wars.
But by taking humans out of our wars we are also removing Humanity from our wars. We are not at Skynet yet but we don't need an AI when we can turn war into a game and fight it from games consoles.
Without Humanity we become the machines.