Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been around for nearly two centuries ranging from balloons used for meteorological observation and the carriage of incendiary devices to pilotless aircraft cheaply made for artillery target practice.
The 21st century has seen an explosion in the manufacture of aircraft which are purpose-built for a wide range of commercial and military applications. The leading global manufacturers are the Chinese companies DJI, XAG and JOUAV, trailed by the Parrot brand of France and Skydio of the USA.
Specialist models with lethal capacity are made chiefly for government use in the USA, Israel, Austria and, of course, Iran.
The Chinese sell drones to more than 50 countries with full support facilities including DJI’s counter drone detection product AeroScope, which obviously raises security issues because of its wide ranging ability to track and communicate with its own and perhaps other drones to detect their location and the purpose of their missions. For example, a request by Ukraine that its boundaries should be ring-fenced to prevent entry by Russian-owned units was refused by DJI.
Incongruously, DJI drones have been imported in large number to the USA where they are used, ostensibly, for duties such as herding cattle and controlling pesticide distribution in the vast tracts of agricultural land bought by Chinese investors with US dollars earned from exports.
But these same drones have also been bought using Federal funds by US police forces and NGOs for obvious reasons of surveillance.
As shares in the Chinese “private” companies are partly owned by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), it is surprising that the US authorities have only just awakened to the Trojan drones which are reporting all manner of “sensitive” information via AeroScope to intelligence agencies in China.
In stark contrast, consternation has been expressed by Canadian and US security forces for the recent intrusion of a single “spy balloon” into their stratospheres.
Until now, drones have been launched and their flight paths controlled by humans who this year will face unemployment as Artificial Intelligence takes over their duties.
What is alarming is that the rapid development of new control programs will enable AI to make instant decisions concerning the information which is to be collected and where military strikes will take place.
Such decisions will always be dependent upon the source and quality of information, which is to be force-fed to these robots, but who knows if this will be by governments (democratically elected or not) or by corporations which may be owned, like the SMERSH of James Bond legacy, by the global elites of a new world order?
COMMENT by Roberto Cavaleiro