You may recall in a previous segment of Signs of the Coming Robot Apocalypse where the X-47B drone made the first unmanned aircraft carrier landing.  We now have news that there are already plans in the works to make some drones completely autonomous.   Yep…independent, free thinking drones that will have the capabilities to make lethal decisions without pilot influence.   

This means in the near future these LARs could be patrolling our skies. The acronym LAR stands for “lethal autonomous robot”.   Oh sounds sexy.  WTF!  This is a good idea why?

Well apparently this is a good idea because humans are just too human and drones need to be “less emotional, more selective and able to provide force in a way that achieves a tactical objective with the least harm,” said Purdue University Professor Samuel Liles. “A lethal autonomous robot can aim better, target better, select better, and in general be a better asset with the linked ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] packages it can run.”

So the thinking is that one way to make a drone reliable is to allow it make decisions without human interference.  I kinda understand the logic; however regardless of reliability computer systems are computer systems and if they exist then they can be hacked. 

If the day comes when we do see LARs in war situations, who would take the blame if something goes wrong?  Well I guess the military could just blame it on a technical error caused by Windows and Internet Explorer?

Keep in mind Homeland Security has been aware that drones are vulnerable and have been hackable for years. In 2009, defense officials told reporters that Iranian-backed militias used $26 of off-the-shelf software to intercept the video feeds of drones flying over Iraq. And in 2011, it was reported that a virus had infected some drone control systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, leading to security concerns about the security of unmanned aircraft.  Duh!

A potentially hackable lethal autonomous flying machine; what will they think of next?