Insipid Weapons

The Washington Post: The Kalashnikov assault rifle changed the world. Now there’s a Kalashnikov kamikaze drone:

ABU DHABI — The Russian company that gave the world the iconic AK-47 assault rifle has unveiled a suicide drone that may similarly revolutionize war by making sophisticated drone warfare technology widely and cheaply available.
The KUB is four feet wide, can fly for 30 minutes at a speed of 80 mph and carries six pounds of explosives, the news release says. That makes it roughly the size of a coffee table that can be guided to explode on a target 40 miles away — the equivalent of a “small, slow and presumably inexpensive cruise missile,” according to a report by the National Interest website.

Drones like this don’t actually need human pilots, they just need simple algorithms and GPS coordinates. Or mobile device signatures to target.

With 100 of these devices, fully autonomous, carrying incendiary devices, I am pretty sure a single individual could surpass the destruction of 9/11.

Not to mention of course that these kind of devices will further inspire commercial drones to be refitted with explosives and worse to bring about further chaos.

So, what does this have to do with AI? Well, my point here is that just as empowering AI should be considered as dangerous as building a weapon of mass destruction, and should be opposed by all countries and people everywhere, this kind of device should be immediately opposed by all civilized nations.

Because how can chemical or biological weapons be banned, but not devices that will spread random chaos and terror? That seem purpose built to be able to anonymously target crowds of innocent people?

And perhaps our world leaders will think twice when they realize they won’t be able to go outside again, ever, when these devices exist in the wild.

The idea that a company is building these for profit to distribute to militaries around the world is a sickening indictment of capitalism. Because there is a free market for terror and dominance, and the free market for peace does not intersect with it.

If these are military tools, then ensure their use is limited to only militaries with oversight, that must follow the Geneva Convention, and do this by making sure each device is trackable after destruction. Because just like AI, individual people need to be held responsible for the misuse of technology.

I will write more about the idea of Hypocrisy, but for now, I say this: it is not Hypocrisy to support a strong military that uses drones, but also believe weapons like this are immoral. Because scale matters. Guns may be amoral, but the saturation of firearms in a society might be considered immoral because of the threat it poses to all. Scale matters, availability matters, cost matters. And a million dollar military drone, despite all the horror and mistakes made with them, is a different ethical creature than a $500 one.

Trust no robot, and certainly do not trust Kalashnikov.

2 comments

  1. I doubt that evil minds that are bent on destruction, require Capitalism for the success of there evil design. So, indicting capitalism seems as relevant as indicting a ham sandwich.

    This fact is Ironically proved further by the obviously, not so capitalist, communist origin of the name Kalashnikov!

    Sorry, I had not intended to make an issue of Capitalism, but merely to point out what seem to me as illogical bridges between concepts that are in this article, and this one really stood out to me.

    As much as technology can advance tools for war, from bear knuckle fists all the way up to the most devastating weapons imaginable, none of this has advanced Morality to a higher level.

    Using force to take things that one has no right to is a Moral Hypocrisy, the trouble is it is very difficult to only defend against an assault and be able to continue to function with out meeting force with counter assaulting force, a counter assault is considered morally justified by the one with the moral right.

    But who gets to judge? judging itself is very often a moral hypocrisy and a tool of war in itself especially through propaganda.

    Justification is a theological word, it means that one has done what is unlawful but is deemed acquitted of guilt by a higher judging power. in other words even the counter assault is immoral, but it may be justified as in self defense. but the fact remains that no one has the moral right to harm another even though it may be justified, so it is best to avoid the circumstances that may force the hand of self defense.

    Morally obtuse global bullies might not exist if it was more seriously considered a wise defensive move, if while young, to instill in the hearts and minds of all people concepts of Lawfulness, what is morality but the law of love, in fact in legal language the word for Love is “care”.

    The right to self defense is a self evident right, how devastating the tools of Self defense are, may be a very accurate indication of how Morally obtuse the threat is!

    Until this sickness in the hearts and minds of the aggressors is cured, probably through more careful guidance especially in youth, tools for war may continue to be a regrettable necessity that people are burdened with.

    Elimination of tools of ware are hypothetically one of the goals of the U.N. as they have etched in stone a quoted prophecy from the book of Isaiah 2:4 “He will render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, Nor will they learn war anymore.”

    Ideally Moral Violators will no longer exist, because there hearts and minds are won over to their better and more caring sensibilities, and creative minds will build technology, perhaps even AI to serve men better, rather than building weapons.

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