Experts warn about the dangers of drones becoming weapons of mass destruction



Small drones can be obtained at low cost and are also used for home delivery services, so it can be said that drones have become widespread in everyday life. However, experts have warned that drones have the potential to be used as weapons of mass destruction, with specific dangers.

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Swarms of Mass Destruction: The Case for Declaring Armed and Fully Autonomous Drone Swarms as WMD --Modern War Institute

As of 2020, the purpose of drones is mainly for transportation and photography, but the possibility of being used as a weapon of mass destruction is not zero. This danger has been cried for a long time, and the movie 'Slaughterbots' released in 2017 depicting 'How drones become a threat and threaten people's lives in the world where murder drones have been developed' is 300 It became a big topic that exceeded 10,000 times playback.

A near-future movie 'Slaughterbots' that depicts a scenario in which a murder drone for justice kills ordinary people one after another --GIGAZINE

The 'autonomous murder drone that flock to kill the target' that appears in the movie has not been developed yet, but the 'drone that flies as a flock' itself has been realized, and in 2018 Intel but the 2018 units of the drone was not fly .

Autonomous drones are also being developed in various places. A group of fully autonomous drones is called 'AFADS' from the acronym, but if you combine the drone technologies for defense or attack purposes developed in the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, China, and Russia, it will appear in Slaughterbots. It is also believed that it is possible to create AFADS. In addition, 'fully autonomous type' of AFADS means that both 'autonomous flight' and 'autonomous target setting' are possible.

Zachary Kallenborn, an expert on unmanned systems and weapons of mass destruction, argues that AFADS should be classified as a weapon of mass destruction given the potential dangers of AFADS.

The differences between 'drone', 'multiple drones', and 'flock of drones' by Mr. Kallenborn are as follows. A group of drones seems to refer to those that cooperate with each other.

'Considering AFADS as weapons of mass destruction' means legally applying the Outer Space Treaty , the Seabed Arms Control Treaty, and the First Strategic Arms Control Treaty to drone swarms. However, although it is simple to express in words, in reality, the definition of 'weapons of mass destruction' is not clear, and it is very difficult to classify.

In a comprehensive review, which was announced in 2006, that the US government is using the term weapons of mass destruction in the different definitions at least 20 things (PDF file) it has been shown . The term weapons of mass destruction is ambiguous, and some experts disagree with the use of biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons as they appear to be 'equal threats.'

Still, Kallenborn wants AFADS to be classified as a weapon of mass destruction, saying that 'AFADS may not be considered a threat because it is not classified as a weapon of mass destruction.' Kallenborn explains that AFADS has two risks: 'ease of scalability' and 'indistinguishable military and civilian targets.'

◆ Potential danger of ease of scalability
Since AFADS is easy to scale up and down, it can be easily adjusted so that it does not fit the definition of 'weapons of mass destruction'. Also, if the drone is rudimentary, you can make it with a 3D printer or buy it at a low price. The drones obtained in this way can be transformed into a 'flock' of information sharing and decision-making between drones by using appropriate software and hardware.

In fact, Intel has created a swarm of 2018 drones like the one below, but it's easy to imagine that if this swarm carries a bomb, it will cause a large number of deaths.

Of course, how much harm a swarm of drones actually does depends on the situation. The military should prepare a counter drone for defense and a net for capturing the drone. On the other hand, it is possible to use the flexibility of drones to charge chemical weapons, and conversely, to charge anti-tank weapons with drones, and the number of deaths depends on these situations.

No cases of AFADS actually causing great damage have been reported as of 2020. A close example is Syria's mass launch of drones at Russian military bases. At this time, Russian troops took control of six of the drones and shot down seven, but two soldiers were killed.

An air force base built by the Russian army in Syria is attacked by several armed drones-GIGAZINE

◆ Essential indiscrimination
The Intel example already shows that it is possible to control a swarm of drones at a high level, but on the other hand, as the number of drones increases, it becomes more difficult to control them. In 2017, US Air Force drone operators were shown to have a higher incidence of staff shortages and burnout compared to other areas.

Drone targets are generally 'undamaged soldiers.' You may be able to tell if you are a soldier if you are in uniform, but if the soldier is facing you, you will not know if you are injured. Also, when making an autonomous system, the drone itself needs to distinguish between armed / unarmed, military uniform / plain clothes, enemy / ally, etc., which are thought to be executed by AI, but will be realized in the near future. There is no possibility yet.

Looking back on history, many organizations, such as the indiscriminate bombing of Dresden by the Allied forces during World War II, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the Rwandan genocide , are civilians to accomplish their military objectives. I have decided to sacrifice. Given the drawback of drones not being able to target autonomously, it is quite possible that they will be used for indiscriminate attacks involving civilians.

To avoid these future dangers, Kallenborn urges the US government to 'formally state its position that AFADS should be considered a weapon of mass destruction.' Kallenborn also called for enabling government and international organizations involved in the eradication of weapons of mass destruction to evaluate AFADS and finding ways to confirm the difficult use of AFADS.

in Hardware, Posted by darkhorse_log