Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Battlestar Galactica as "future history."

There were probably ten disturbing bits of information in this recent New Yorker article about the military uses of robot-mounted shotguns (seriously). But this might have been the most troubling:

Combat-robot advocates are quick to say that the decision to fire will always remain in the hands of a human operator. Their refrain is "Man in the loop." Yet several weapons systems, including the Patriot missile and some defense systems built for U.S. Navy ships, can be programmed to shoot without a human pulling the trigger. P.W. Singer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of "Wired for War," about the growth of robotic warfare, says, "We've already redefined what 'in the loop' means. It's moved from making the decision to fire to mere veto power. The lines are already fuzzy, and they're disappearing."
In two hundred years, as the last remaining human historians trace the developments that eventually led to the Cylon Wars, this passage will seem sadly prophetic.

Can humankind change course in time?

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Jeremy said...

Hey, an actual Cylon robot! Maybe I want to watch BSG after all. (About 10 years ago I rented a DVD of the original show's pilot, for nostalgic purposes. It's pretty terrible, but the toys were cool.)

Word verification: suplogil. "Babies born to mothers who have taken this drug in the latter half of pregnancy have reported complications, including difficulties with breathing, turning blue, floppiness, stiffness, irritability or constant crying."

FOSCO said...

It's a crying shame (much like the ones caused by suplogil) that you are not a BSG viewer.

But I understand that sometimes one must resist the shows that everyone tells you that you should/will love.