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Cyber and Drone Attacks May Change Warfare More Than the Machine Gun


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Drone room

Inside a U.S. drone room.

Credit: Reuters

Information technology is changing the way nations wage war, with philosophical and ethical perspectives struggling to keep pace with those changes.

University of Hertforshire Marie Curie fellow Mariarosaria Taddeo says the present concept of a state as a political unit exercising power over a specific physical territory is difficult to reconcile with states' efforts to dominate certain regions of cyberspace, which lacks a defined territory. She also says the nature of informational warfare technologies, such as robotic weapons, is encouraging political decisions to rationalize or deploy them.

"They are quite a bit cheaper than traditional weapons, but more importantly they bypass the need for political actors to confront media and public opinion about sending young men and women abroad to risk their lives," Taddeo notes.

She speculates that information warfare could raise the risk of conflicts and human casualties, and could be used to inflict significant physical destruction, such as sabotaging a subway system or a flight control system.

"This is one reason why we so badly need a philosophical and ethical analysis of this phenomenon, so that we can properly evaluate the risks," she argues. Taddeo also says the line between civilians and the military is completely erased by information warfare.

From The Atlantic
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