Technological advances are one of the important and obvious characteristics of globalisation, but who exactly benefits from technological advances? The governments of the world’s leading powers, obviously. This technological golden age has seen an increase in surveillance and the use of drones and military robots. Even though these benefit the governments that use them, they seemingly cause more harm than good.
Military robots offer better defense and have the potential to save combatants lives. In order to cut on troops, the US army is considering replacing the army’s brigade combat team with robots and shrinking the team’s size by a quarter. Moreover, they are costly and might lead to increased military spending. It is important to think about just how much damage these military robots will cause. Is the cost of saving an American solider by placing a robot in the field worth more than the live of a civilian targeted by these machines? Just like a scene from the Terminator film, I can only imagine the chaos and the havoc these military robots will cause once on the field, rising ethical arguments. These are being developed by several countries such as the US and Russia, and some experts predict that they would be in use and fully functional on the field in the next 20 years.For now, robots in the form of vehicles and exoskeletons are being used to clear out bombs and carry heavy equipment. Even though these are not exactly the destructive anti-human kind of robots, however, once these prove successful, what’s to stop government’s enthusiasm from growing towards using advanced smart robotics and androids in the near future? Human Rights Watch campaigned for a ban of robot military and has done so for good reason. Their campaign calls for the stop of ‘Killer Robots’ before it’s too late. Military robots in the future will be able to select targets without human intervention and worryingly enough, will not be able to meet international humanitarian law standards.
It is undeniable that America’s drone camping has already done more damage than good, killing hundreds of civilians while trying to target terrorist insurgents in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
Besides robots and drones, the US intelligence confirmed that the National Security Agency has used a loop in surveillance law to collect information and perform warrantless searches on Americans’ communications, threating the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans. The recent incidences of cyber war and various country’s ability to spy and hack into other governmental systems increases mistrust between nation states. Like George Orwell’s 1984 on a global scale, it is safe to say the technological age is on steroids, benefitting mostly those in power.
Balqis Hindash (M00385581 Middlesex University, Dubai campus)