Unnoticed Side-Effect of Drone Development
Unnoticed Side-Effect of Drone Development
  • Reporter Song Sung-chan
  • 승인 2018.09.19 20:42
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▲Slaughterbot, which is not science fiction anymore
Slaughterbot, which is not science fiction anymore

People can easily see the benefits of drone usage from package delivery to firefighting. With such motivations, experts and even regular citizens have been updating drone’s hardware and software to enable drones to perform various tasks. However, little did they know about the dark side of the drone usage.

On Nov. 14, 2017, the International Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was held in Geneva of which more than 100 nations were part. The subject of the convention was the ban on killer robots. 

At the convention, a seven-minute film called “Slaughterbots,” created by computer scientists from Campaign to Stop Robots group under the supervision of Stuart Russell who is a leading AI scientist and professor from U.C. Berkeley, was played in an effort to urge the United Nation (UN) to ban autonomous weapons worldwide. The film shows palm-sized drones armed with explosives. The drones lunge toward human skulls, exploding upon contact to penetrate the brains and eliminate their contents. The film went on and even pre


sented some realistic scenarios to inculcate a sense of urgency into people’s minds. One of the scenarios took place in a college lecture where students were slaughtered by the slaughterbots, and the scenario ended when the video of a guy facetiming his mother turned dark with the sound of a bang. The film has reached more than four million online views and shocked the world.

Professor Russell asserted that “it is not science fiction” and that the video illustrates the “results of integrating and miniaturizing technologies that we already have.” The dangers of drones that professor Russell pointed out are in fact foreshadowed at the very early stage of drone development: the white house drone trespassing. 

The white house is designed to be one of the most heavily guarded places on Earth. It has a radar system capable of detecting flying objects such as missiles, planes, and large drones. However, on Jan. 26, 2015, the White House was visited by an unwanted guest when a small drone crashed into a tree on the South Lawn of the White House. The drone was about two feet in diameter and its small size enabled the drone to sneak into so called impregnable fortress unnoticed. Luckily, the drone was operated by a government employee for recreational purpose only and not for terrorism.

The question that the drone incidence at the White House should imprint on people’s minds is as follows: if a two-meter diameter drone could penetrate a place with the most thorough surveillance more than three years ago, what can a palm-sized drone do if handled by malicious person? That question is answered by professor Russell through his film. 

The continuation of drone development without any effort to put it on a leash will leave nothing but subversion. But everything has a silver lining and it will only get brighter as more people become aware of prospective drone terrors. Vital researches and reports regarding drone regulations can be found at the site, ‘autonomousweapons.org.’ With that information, one can become a part of a society that saves the future. But act quickly for “the window to act is closing fast” as Prof. Russell has underscored.