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“They cannot be stopped!” The quiet applause following some of the demonstrations in the video is what is really unsettling.

Omniviolence Is Coming and the World Isn’t Ready
Technology is, in other words, enabling criminals to target anyone anywhere and, due to democratization, increasingly at scale. Emerging bio-, nano-, and cyber-technologies are becoming more and more accessible. The political scientist Daniel Deudney has a word for what can result: “omniviolence.” The ratio of killers to killed, or “K/K ratio,” is falling. For example, computer scientist Stuart Russell has vividly described how a small group of malicious agents might engage in omniviolence: “A very, very small quadcopter, one inch in diameter can carry a one-or two-gram shaped charge,” he says. “You can order them from a drone manufacturer in China. You can program the code to say: ‘Here are thousands of photographs of the kinds of things I want to target.’ A one-gram shaped charge can punch a hole in nine millimeters of steel, so presumably you can also punch a hole in someone’s head. You can fit about three million of those in a semi-tractor-trailer. You can drive up I-95 with three trucks and have 10 million weapons attacking New York City. They don’t have to be very effective, only 5 or 10% of them have to find the target.” Manufacturers will be producing millions of these drones, available for purchase just as with guns now, Russell points out, “except millions of guns don’t matter unless you have a million soldiers. You need only three guys to write the program and launch.”

In a recent paper, “The Vulnerable World Hypothesis,” published in Global Policy, the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that the only way to defend against a global catastrophe is to employ a universal and invasive surveillance system, what he calls a “High-tech Panopticon.” Sound dystopian? It sure does to me. “Creating and operating the High-tech Panopticon would require substantial investment,” Bostrom writes, “but thanks to the falling price of cameras, data transmission, storage, and computing, and the rapid advances in AI-enabled content analysis, it may soon become both technologically feasible and affordable.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dan Patterson October 28, 2019, 9:12 AM

    Alfred Nobel and dynamite.
    Hiram Maxim and his automatic gun.
    The Manhattan Project.
    All meant to stop war.
    HAL in real life is next?
    Tyrants always gravitate toward the next best suppressor of liberty; that suppression includes the ballot box. Do NOT count on “leadership” to find a way out of this swamp.
    With the clown circus that is the Deep State, George Patton would be stacking bodies by now

  • OneGuy October 28, 2019, 9:53 AM

    These devices are a real threat and could determine the outcome of the next war. I hope our leaders and our military are paying attention to this threat.

  • Mike Anderson October 28, 2019, 9:54 AM

    Cheap proximity sensors will make the home version of Iron Dome affordable. Slave in a couple of automatic shotguns, and adios, drone-y. Looks like drone delivery services may die an early death.

  • Andrew X October 28, 2019, 10:32 AM

    What if the purpose of the human race is to be the boot mechanism for A.I.?

  • James ONeil October 28, 2019, 11:22 AM

    “A very, very small quadcopter, one inch in diameter can carry a one-or two-gram shaped charge,”

    I’m not sure that’s true but assuming it is, the shaped charge needs to be detonated. For argument, as the author suggests it would penetrate 9mm of steel, I’m assuming probably something like Astrolite G, with a detonation velocity around 8,600 m/s, or double that of TNT, is the explosive he considers.

    If so, for the shaped charge to work it has to be in precisely aligned contact with the piece of steel, or the victims skull. It would take a rather amazing program to get and keep the drone and the shaped charge aligned.

    One to two grams? Astrolite won’t explode unless set off by a detonator, blasting cap, which, alone weighs about that much. The batteries in the one inch drones only allow around 4 minutes of flight and enough charge need be left to blow the blasting cap.

    OK, I am quite willing to allow that drones and explosives can be dangerous, but the example computer scientist Stuart Russell uses to support the argument is rather ludicrous. Umbrellas and fly swatters would provide adequate defense against the threat he proposes.

  • Dr. Jay October 28, 2019, 11:27 AM

    Genghis Khan meet Mother Teresa . . .

  • Anonymous October 28, 2019, 2:03 PM

    Time for all of us to get some of this:


  • Casey Klahn October 28, 2019, 8:13 PM

    Counter measures might help; for my part I won’t allow any drones around my property. At least with a wild animal I can read its face and body language. With humans I can also find some kind of tell as to what’s next. But, a drone is a faceless threat so no thanks.

    Jamming, anti-missile skirts, facial active and passive camouflaging, helmets. Degense in depth. Lots of stuff comes to mind.

    I will say that when I first watched Terminator so many years ago, I gave the plot line no credence whatsoever. Now…

  • Jamesbbkk November 1, 2019, 12:01 AM

    Can’t help but cop to having some satisfaction in imagining the targets in the video being members of the current iteration of the Red Guards.