Feature

WATCH: The deadly, insect-sized drones of the future

The Air Force is reportedly developing winged drones that can sneak up on a suspected enemy as stealthily as a mosquito

Since 9/11, the U.S. has grown increasingly reliant on drones to take out suspected terrorists in far-flung regions of the globe. The trend has only accelerated under President Obama, who has coupled a surge in drone attacks with a withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, a clear signal that the U.S. fight against terrorism will no longer entail a large military footprint on the ground. And as the troops recede, the drones are only going to get smaller, more accurate, and deadlier, according to John Horgan at National Geographic. Horgan says the Air Force has constructed a "micro-aviary" to test insect-like drones, and he was given an animated video that shows simulated drones in action. According to Horgan:

The drones swarm through alleys, crawl across windowsills, and perch on power lines. One of them sneaks up on a scowling man holding a gun and shoots him in the head. The video concludes, "Unobtrusive, pervasive, lethal: Micro air vehicles." [National Geographic]

The possibility of a world filled with micro-drones has disconcerted some commentators. "Sure, we have a technological advantage right now," says Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic, "but micro-drones seem like a disruptive technology that will eventually help rather than hinder attempts at asymmetric warfare." However, if the micro-drones of the future in any way resemble those depicted in the video, it would presumably reduce the number of innocent civilians that have been killed by drone strikes, one of the most potent moral arguments against using drones.

Recommended

OpenAI debuts 'imperfect' tool to catch ChatGPT-generated cheating
OpenAI and ChatGPT
Cheat code

OpenAI debuts 'imperfect' tool to catch ChatGPT-generated cheating

TikTok CEO to testify before House as Congress considers banning the app
TikTok office building in California.
Questions and Answers

TikTok CEO to testify before House as Congress considers banning the app

Boeing delivers its final 747 plane, bringing an end to the world's most iconic jet
The final Boeing 747 leaving the factory.
Farewell, 747

Boeing delivers its final 747 plane, bringing an end to the world's most iconic jet

What caused Wednesday morning's Microsoft outage?
Microsoft Teams logo on phone
system down

What caused Wednesday morning's Microsoft outage?

Most Popular

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean
A suspected Chinese spy balloon over Montana.
99 Red Balloons?

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean

New report describes numerous security breaches at the Supreme Court
Supreme Court building.
Problems with Justice

New report describes numerous security breaches at the Supreme Court

Yale honors Black girl who had the police called on her for spraying lanternflies
Spotted lanterflies
black girl magic

Yale honors Black girl who had the police called on her for spraying lanternflies