'Drones will cause an upheaval of society like we haven’t seen in 700 years'

We talk a lot here about how LENR/Cold Fusion could transform the world in unimaginable ways, but there are other technologies that could do the same. Here’s an interesting article written by Noah Smith, a professor of finance at Stony Brook University in New York who writes about the impact that drones could have on our world, focusing on the military implications. Smith discusses how the US military is considering replacing thousands of troops with autonomous robots, and look ahead to when drones will be used by governments to maintain control over rebellious and unruly citizens

Imagine a world where gated communities have become self-contained cantonments, inside of which live the beautiful, rich, Robot Lords, served by cheap robot employees, guarded by cheap robot armies. Outside the gates, a teeming, ragged mass of lumpen humanity teeters on the edge of starvation. They can’t farm the land or mine for minerals, because the invincible robot swarms guard all the farms and mines. Their only hope is to catch the attention of the Robot Lords inside the cantonments, either by having enough rare talent to be admitted as a Robot Lord, or by becoming a novelty slave for a little while.

This sounds like nothing more than a fun science fiction story, but why shouldn’t this happen? Human civilization was somewhat like this for most of our history—aristocrats feasting in their manor houses, half-starved peasants toiling in the fields. What liberated us? It might have been the printing press, or capitalism, or the sailing ship. But it might have been the gun. And if it was the gun that liberated us, then we should be very worried. Because when the Age of the Gun ends, the age of freedom and dignity and equality that much of humanity now enjoys may turn out to have been a bizarre, temporary aberration.

It’s quite a gloomy and depressing outlook — and in my mind it doesn’t take into consideration the way that new technologies can be used increase individual liberty and empowerment; however, there is always the issue to deal with when considering new technologies about what happens when it gets in the hands of people with evil intention — and that is an issue that deserves careful thought.

The full article can be read here:


  • Gordon Docherty

    Machines liberated us. Machines and standardization. There was no longer any need for slave plantations because there was no longer any need for slaves. The same was true for making things: once setup (a long, laborious process) machines decreased the time to manufacture standardized units, producing not just many more units, but units to tighter and tighter tolerances. This, in turn, allowed manufacturing design to thrive, and so on. As to “intelligent” machines, despite all the hype, they are many, many years away yet – and the type of machine you are talking about is not just intelligent but greedy too, and that’s way, way out there…

  • Anyone remember the movie, ‘Zardoz’, with Sean Connery as the entertaining slave taken inside the gates?

  • ‘Drones’ are just another weapons system. At the moment their remote control systems are the main vulnerability that will be targeted by military countermeasure developers. The response will probably be to increase autonomy, but they will still need GPS input and command processing, so will remain vulnerable in other ways, including virus uploads and EMP attacks. Ultimately, they are slow moving and can be easily shot down when they are not being used against tribesmen with predominantly medieval technology or defenseless villagers just going about their daily business.

  • td

    Imagine an attack of (flying, jumping, crawling) small drones, with the same quantity and autonomity as mosquitoes.

    • bachcole

      I was watching “MI-5” (GREAT SHOW!!!!) on NetFlix yesterday and they had an episode with a drone in it. The episode was set about 5 years ago. And yes, I know that MI-5 is fiction. And yes, I know that they fudge the truth ever so slightly, but just for artistic (or political) purposes. But it is close enough to illustrate the power of drones and heavy duty computer power. If you are a bad guy and they know approximately where you are, you’re screwed. They will identify you before your heart can beat too many times.

      I like this part. The part I don’t like is if they are incorrect about thinking that you are a bad guy when you are actually a good guy, like me. I am sure that my constant ranting about raw milk, the medical profession, homeopathy, big government, LENR, alternative energy, etc. has landed me on some kind of list. (:->) Go ahead, make my day; I’ll just cry at them and they will be sorry. (:->)

  • George N

    I think a much more profound technology will be 3d printers that can create open source robots/drones for a few dollars of materials. This will raise the standard of living for everyone by lowering the costs for everything and increasing everyone’s leasure time because we won’t need as much money. Engineering minds will volunteer to developing space age technologies while socialites travel the world to behold the latest breakthroughs, or just party on their ranches

    • LookMoo

      Jepp, and gun control will be futile. When many (if not all) have a 3D printer at home anyone can get a gun within 60 min-

  • Omega Z

    Considering his Position, He could be of the Overlord Class
    So why sound a warning alarm. Maybe he sees a reason to take pause.

    The FLIP SIDE-

    What if this Technology falls into the hands of the Masses.
    And the Masses determine they have no Use for the Overlords.
    They can now fend for themselves.

    Overlords who have no power over the masses have no purpose. They become Peasants.

  • Ophelia Rump

    mix a little gee whiz science fact in that and it might make acceptable science fiction.