Monday, August 1, 2011

Do drones make killing too easy?

Dozens of countries are now producing unmanned aircraft known as drones, ranging from flying “spies” the size of insects to large planes equipped with missiles and bombs.

A soldier sitting at a computer in Nevada can be running lethal drones on the other side of the world.

“That to me is deeply problematic, when you make killing so easy, and when you remove the person so far from the site of the killing,” says Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Emory Center for Ethics. “The sense of having killed people becomes so abstract.”

Drone technology could develop to the point that enemy soldiers conduct entire battles against one another via computer, while sitting in fortified bunkers.

“This sort of strategy ends up protecting soldiers more, but exposing civilians more,” Wolpe says. “It will change the nature of warfare and raise a new kind of ethical calculus in the way in which warfare is conducted.”

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