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: