Facebook’s Most Wanted? Drone warfare in the age of facial recognition

by SharonWeinberger, Medill National Security Zone, 11/4/2011

“Imagine a future where a U.S. military drone flies over a foreign city, spots a group of people, swoops in close enough to see their faces, and then kills an identified terrorist. Sound scary?

It should, since indeed the Pentagon is working on a variety of technologies designed to do just that.

A recent Washington Post article recounted a recent military-sponsored experiment that could lay the “groundwork for scientific advances that would allow drones to search for a human target and then make an identification based on facial-recognition or other software.” Similarly, Wired’s DANGER ROOM blog reported on some half a dozen contracts recently given by the Army to develop software that can instantly recognize specific people based on unique identifiers, such as their face.

Such automatic facial recognition technology, the articles say, could lead to a future where targeted killings are carried out with incredible speed. “This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans,” the Washington Post reported…” Read the rest of this article here.

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