Virtual worlds and virtual reality make us dream about telepresence and the death of distance. Some even suggest the concept of citizenship may change as we’ll be citizens of nation-states and of virtual worlds. But then again, we should consider also the reality out there: technology is a crucial element in the power struggle between nation-states and between states and groups (or networks).
Colin Lewis on RobotEnomics tells us about a report by James Kadtke and Linton Wells II about Policy Challenges of Accelerating Technological Change: Security Policy and Strategy Implications of Parallel Scientific Revolutions. Consider the advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. It becomes conceivable that swarms of drones operate without human intervention while they try to achieve objectives such as securing territory or destroying enemy forces.
The technology required and the cost for building these systems become more achievable for others than the US military – authoritarian regimes and terrorist groups will probably try to build their own robot warriors.
The same worries exist about biohacking for instance – another technology becoming more affordable and the knowledge is spreading around fast. DIY-groups act responsibly, but then again, there is no guarantee that all groups will have noble intentions, which is rather inconvenient as the technological possibilities of individuals and groups will only increase. Add to this similar concerns about nanotechnology and about the combinations of all these technological breakthroughs.
I wrote a column about these issues today for my newspaper, titled KillBots (in Dutch). For similar thoughts expressed in a more poetic fashion, read Jason Dorrier at SingularityHub.
There are many dark sides to technological change… To me, the most interesting dark sides are those that rely on new technology but are not fully automated and still have a human element to them.
One example is given here:
while another fun one is to imagine what a “Nigerian scam” might look like in 5 years, when it starts using all kinds of data made available on the web by a municipality to microtarget individuals within a city…