Modern Warfare - Drone Controllers At Work

Drone controllers control their vehicles from Nevada, flying them in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The title isn't related to the actual Modern Warfare game, but when they say war is becoming a video game, this is what they mean.
Deanosays...

This is barely more exciting than me working an Excel spreadsheet. You should see the things I can do.

Anyway I presume this is a simulation and not live footage. Surprised they weren't slurping on Starbucks between kills.

I like that the related videos are all CoD Modern Warfare.

Jinxsays...

How is the distance between Nevada and Iraq any different from the distance between a bomber and its target, or from an Artillery gun to its target. Is engaging your enemy only when you see the whites of their eyes somehow more palatable? Who'd have thought the most user friendly interface for shooting people in Virtual Reality would eventually be adopted to real life. You should all welcome it. Is it mere coincidence that collateral from modern wars is much less than from 100 years ago? Do you think thats because of improved weapons technology and training, or do you think its because todays GIs are saints compared to their 1945 brothers?

Yeah, guided missiles are better at not killing stuff.

criticalthudsays...

The "drones" aren't only the unmanned aircraft.
Trained mammals who kill other mammals with no thought. Just following orders.
Same old story, and the further away we get from the blood we spill, the easier and more detached the actions become.
Jinx, if you even bothered to look at history, you'd note that the percentage of military to civilian casualties has been flipped within the past 100 years - with a much higher percentage of "collateral damage" -- such a nice, innocuous term. And this type of "virtual reality" is a one-sided virtual. There is nothing "virtual" about being blown up. Rah Rah support of this technological travesty is as insipid as joining the military to protect "freedom" when all you really are is a pawn in the game of power projection.

schmawysays...

Totally solid point, Jinx. Still disgusting to me, though.>> ^Jinx:
How is the distance between Nevada and Iraq any different from the distance between a bomber and its target, or from an Artillery gun to its target. Is engaging your enemy only when you see the whites of their eyes somehow more palatable? Who'd have thought the most user friendly interface for shooting people in Virtual Reality would eventually be adopted to real life. You should all welcome it. Is it mere coincidence that collateral from modern wars is much less than from 100 years ago? Do you think thats because of improved weapons technology and training, or do you think its because todays GIs are saints compared to their 1945 brothers?
Yeah, guided missiles are better at not killing stuff.

spoco2says...

Jinx the issue is that this completely detaches the person doing the killing from the actual consequence of their actions.

They kill a couple of hundred people, or even very personally as in this simulation, a few people in a car... and all they see is an explosion on a screen at a distance.

No visceral feedback of the death and horror they just unleashed.

Plus... it spawns things like Truckchase's comment, where he's looking at the controllers etc. because it's so detached from the horror which it's actually performing that you can do so.

Things like this make killing easier, not harder.

MaxWildersays...

As long as we all swallow the fact that we are killing on behalf of corporate profits, I have no problem with allowing our men and women in uniform to become more detached from the killing and safely on our own soil. Focus your anger on the bullshit happening in Washington DC on behalf of the military industrial complex, not the technology that keeps our people safe and their targets more precise.

If there was an actual team in the aircraft, would it be more palatable for you? If this kill required a squadron to punch through enemy lines and pull the trigger up close after mowing down hundreds of people in between, would you be happier?

Fight the root of the evil, not the improving tactics.

NordlichReitersays...

You know that delightful red spray that shoots out of someones body when a projectile traveling at high speeds hits them? Or the wonderful mixture of shrapnel, shit, and intestines when someone blows up? What about the arterial splatter that is caused by severing the Carotid artery?

Well these guys don't get to witness that first hand, they see it through a CRT or LCD there's no direct threat to their lives; unlike an infantryman. Who's to say that the target is legit? The boss, well how about that Milgram_experiment? How do you know you made a righteous kill? Because someone told them so? I'm sure that will put a whole new spin on the Nuremberg Defense. The fact of the matter is this, it's fucking complicated. Made more complicated by the fact that they are pulling the trigger from the comfort of they're god damned arm chair.

It's a lot like lethal injection. Lethal injection makes it easier for a killer to kill. Make no mistake about it, if you take part in killing someone, even if it is lawful you are still a killer.

But, it is noted that even drone pilots get PTSD, and for good reason. They get to go home like nothing fucking happened. In my mind that makes it worse.

http://trueslant.com/jefftietz/2009/04/16/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-drone-pilot/
http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/08/09/pilots-of-predator-drones-suffering-ptsd/

Footage of what a predator drone sees, caution I didn't watch it all but someone probably died. It's liveleak.com after all.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7bb_1210698031

Ryjkyjsays...

This looks like a demonstration. Not that it's that important. But I've seen the trailers they control drones from and they don't look like this. Not to mention that when someone in the military does something, they do it in uniform.

NetRunnersays...

Personally I'm less worried about this phase of robotic warfare, it's the phase where the President and maybe the Joint Chiefs are the only humans in the loop at all.

Assuming we make it that far, of course. By the time machines get that smart, we're going to be irrelevant -- if not extinct -- if we insist on staying in our bodies of meat. Of course, if we shed those we won't really be the same species anymore, so it's pretty much the same thing.

Singularity, here we come!

BoneRemakesays...

>> ^Jinx:
How is the distance between Nevada and Iraq any different from the distance between a bomber and its target, or from an Artillery gun to its target. Is engaging your enemy only when you see the whites of their eyes somehow more palatable? Who'd have thought the most user friendly interface for shooting people in Virtual Reality would eventually be adopted to real life. You should all welcome it. Is it mere coincidence that collateral from modern wars is much less than from 100 years ago? Do you think thats because of improved weapons technology and training, or do you think its because todays GIs are saints compared to their 1945 brothers?
Yeah, guided missiles are better at not killing stuff.



I believe you are wrong. It is a difference because your taking life without the chance of your being taken. Its no different than playing halo online with some god mode, you get to live while everyone else dies. War in itself is wrong unless your purely defending imho. Look at that I did it without calling you a douche. A sense of pride overcomes me.

sadicioussays...

>> ^BoneRemake:
>> ^Jinx:
How is the distance between Nevada and Iraq any different from the distance between a bomber and its target, or from an Artillery gun to its target. Is engaging your enemy only when you see the whites of their eyes somehow more palatable? Who'd have thought the most user friendly interface for shooting people in Virtual Reality would eventually be adopted to real life. You should all welcome it. Is it mere coincidence that collateral from modern wars is much less than from 100 years ago? Do you think thats because of improved weapons technology and training, or do you think its because todays GIs are saints compared to their 1945 brothers?
Yeah, guided missiles are better at not killing stuff.


I believe you are wrong. It is a difference because your taking life without the chance of your being taken. Its no different than playing halo online with some god mode, you get to live while everyone else dies. War in itself is wrong unless your purely defending imho. Look at that I did it without calling you a douche. A sense of pride overcomes me.


This is also much like when guns were invented. The further you are from your enemy when you attack, the less likely you'll witness any harm to yourself.

I believe this is misdirected anger. Being able to click a button and have someone die somewhere else on the planet is scary stuff. The real problem is the imaginary need to do this.

At the end of the day, the people in the position of those in the video likely have the same issue of knowing that they executed x number of people. I play violent video games in bliss, knowing nobody is harmed by my actions.

MaxWildersays...

>> ^sadicious:

This is also much like when guns were invented. The further you are from your enemy when you attack, the less likely you'll witness any harm to yourself.
I believe this is misdirected anger. Being able to click a button and have someone die somewhere else on the planet is scary stuff. The real problem is the imaginary need to do this.


Exactly. Were you disgusted at the invention of the bow and arrow? Channel your righteous fury toward the assholes who lie to us about WMDs so that Exxon or whoever can take control of the oil fields. Mankind has been making war forever, without any need for weapons of any kind. Getting angry at the weapons does not help. You should be angry at the people who want to profit by using those weapons.

Psychologicsays...

How is this worse than normal aircraft pilots? How much "blood spray" do they see from the actual aircraft? None of the gore reaches the people who make the decisions, so the only effect of "being there" is giving our guys PTSD and possibly a few bullet holes to go with it.

You won't see me celebrating the death of anyone, but I'm not exactly in a hurry to go back to carpet bombing either. If I were to die in war I'd much rather have a smart bomb land on my car than take a bullet and slowly bleed to death. I'd rather not die at all, but that is a different argument from discussing the specific method.

Pretty soon we'll have tiny sparrow-sized explosive bots that can take out individual targets. I'm all for it! If we're killing people either way then I'm happier with fewer "unintentional" deaths. Requiring guys to watch the entrails stick to the walls wouldn't change anything because they aren't the ones choosing the targets.

Psychologicsays...

^NetRunner:
By the time machines get that smart, we're going to be irrelevant -- if not extinct -- if we insist on staying in our bodies of meat. Of course, if we shed those we won't really be the same species anymore, so it's pretty much the same thing.


You say "extinct" like it's a bad thing. =)

Not every extinct species died off... many of them simply evolved. We already have people with artificial organs and limbs, which I have no problem with. If Stephen Hawking gets an artificial body eventually then I'm happy for him. I'm pretty happy with what I have, but I may feel differently when I'm 80.

Of course, I don't see my own death as something to fear, so I may be looking at things from a different perspective.

PHJFsays...

That's good work and all, but how will they handle a 20-man raid? This two-player dungeon running is kiddie stuff.

BoneRemakesays...

what is not clear about what I said ? If you are not in the area of attack then you are at absolutely no risk. I read some jack ass stuff up their by people who didnt accept this basic fact of what I am feeling. I hope this feeling of disgust is absorbed into your brains to clarify my position. guns arrow whatever, they can still shoot back at you. use a predator and it gets shot down, wow 250 thousand or whatever dollars are gone. shoot down a plane and you loose millions as well as the pilots life ( possibly.. which is the point ! )

Psychologicsays...

>> ^d3n4l1:
Come on guys, you're better than this. That's not real.


This video isn't showing an actual attack, but striking targets from unmanned aircraft is fairly common.

GenjiKilpatricksays...

>> ^Jinx:

Is engaging your enemy only when you see the whites of their eyes somehow more palatable?

Is it mere coincidence that collateral from modern wars is much less than from 100 years ago?


Um.. yes. There's a disconnect when you can't physically see the person you're affecting.
Your mirror neurons can't help you empathy if all you see is a green and gray aerial photo.

And.. wtf are you talking?! Since 2008 61 drones attacks have killed 824 human beings.

14 were Al Qaeda.

"Smart"bombs and drones are no better or "safer" than carpet bombing or artillery.

It's all fuckin' war. And it's all fuckin' awful.

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