Drones and the Future of War

Russia and Iran collaborating on drone manufacture

Drones and the Future of War Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have been playing a greater part in war since the United States’ 'War on Terror.' In Ukraine, they have been integral to operations on both sides of the conflict. Drones pose huge ethical problems. But with the onset of AI these weapons, and the ethical issues they raise, are not going away any time soon.
Former Military Intelligence Officer Frank Ledwidge says "It's very difficult to overplay...the role of drones in Ukraine." They have been hugely important for attacking and for surveillance. With drones, "you get really cheaply, really easily 24/7 surveillance in the sky" says Dr. Ulrike Franke from the European Council on Foreign Relations. While Ukraine's drone usage has been more innovative, Russia is also relying heavily on drones, many of them supplied from Iran, “for surveillance, artillery correction, and attack” according to Reuters. Wars can't be won through drones alone, and these weapons are still the root of some terrible mistakes. The US' drone wars have been responsible for the deaths of many civilians in cases of mistaken identity, or simply as collateral damage. Now, as AI develops, the concerns are even greater. General Jack Shanahan, director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, expresses worry that in the future there might be autonomous weapons systems deploying without a human in the room. If there is no regulation, “then we're in an AI race to the bottom.”

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