Not too long ago, I wrote about the game-ification of war, where the military’s war machine becomes controlled more like a video game with semi-autonomous war bots patrolling the future battlespaces waiting to be guided by some steady hand game controller on the other side of the world. Kids snacking after school, taking over the world.
Anyway, taking that notion a step further – but in a frighteningly more real direction - Stephen Graham says, “War is about to change.” It will “progressively cease to be the foggy, confusing, equalising business it has been for centuries, in which the risks are always high. […] Instead, “it will become remote, semi-automatic and all-knowing, entailing less and less risk to American lives and taking place largely out of the sight of news cameras.” In this cover story for the New Statesmen, Graham warns us of a new state of remote controlled warfare where soon “US forces will be able to deal out death, not at the squeeze of a trigger or even the push of a button but with no human intervention whatsoever, as the “machines will be able to kill on their own initiative.”
Dubbed the "new Manhattan Project", “Hundreds of research projects are under way at American universities and defence companies, backed by billions of dollars” Graham notes, to turn what has been called ‘military omniscience’ into reality, where cities digitized in unparalleled scales are constantly scanned by increasingly sentient drones (via) capable of striking the hair on your nose, networked surveillance sensors that can see through concrete walls or match your images with others taken around the world, smart dust insurgent tracking, bots and bugs hotrodded for war, and a whole set of military commands made flesh by the pressed button of a toy-like handheld game controller. It all spells a new medium for a globalized warfare, or a war against the "global south", and is coming sooner than we may care to believe.
Check it out, fascinating article, and then be sure to chase it down with some older Subtopian hits afterwards.