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Drones and the Butlerian Jihad

My current top fantasy:  Taliban engineers crack the codes of American drones and succeed in re-directing them towards American military installations.  Or Palestinian engineers do the same and turn around Israeli drones to attack the bases that send them.

I hope they do; wish they'll succeed:  not out of some mad sympathy for violent means or causes, but because the moment this happens, drones will cease to be an effective weapon.  The risks in deploying them will be too great.  And that will be one less 21st century weapon of doom to worry about.

We are only at the beginning of the drone warfare era, but already what was till recently science fiction has become an effective weapon.  We know that scientists are working on insect-sized micro-drones, and can only imagine what horrors await us in the not-too-far-distant future.

Just as the threat of mutual destruction became the best protection against nuclear warfare, we may have to come up with new strategies to make the use of new weapons technologies ineffectual.

Frank Herbert in the Dune books foresaw ways in which humankind may take a step backward, with the Butlerian Jihad - a huge revolt against "thinking machines" that saves them from destruction.  Similarly, energy shields are outlawed, due to the explosive effect of their interaction with lasguns.

What we really need is a change in consciousness.  It isn't just a problem that science fiction writers predict a perpetuation of current human conflicts into future centuries, but that we are currently spending billions on horror-technologies that aim to darken our lives.


Researchers use spoofing to 'hack' into a flying drone

29 June 2012 Last updated at 10:54 GMT

"...But the big worry is - it also means that it wouldn't be too hard for [a very skilled person] to work out how to un-encrypt military drones and spoof them, and that could be extremely dangerous because they could turn them on the wrong people."