Iran has unveiled it’s first in-house deathbot, but before everyone lines up to pat the defense department on the back for their sterling efforts, lets spare a thought for the marketing department who managed to come up with this description of said deathbot:
This jet is a messenger of honour and human generosity and a saviour of mankind, before being a messenger of death for enemies of mankind
You just know that the person who came up with that was wearing a suit paired with really, really shiny shoes.
Today the guys behind Pirate Bay were sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay not an insignificant amount in damages to various entertainment companies for providing people with a means of illegaly sharing copyrighted material. Where do I start? I could point out that whilst the site can be used to aid illegal file sharing, it can also be used in a perfectly legal and legitimate manner and that this is a dangerous legal precedent to set unless Sweden also plans to start prosecuting gun manufacturers (does Sweden have any gun manufacturers?) for providing people with a means by which to kill someone. I could also point out that there are plenty of other sites that enable users to search out torrents (Google anybody). I think I’ll just settle for the fact that the Pirate Bay lives, an appeal will keep the guys out of prison at least for a while yet, if not permanently and the knowledge that someone somewhere pussied out completely and decided not to prosecute the real criminals, the people actually sharing files illegally.
In contrast to the guys from Pirate Bay, the people at the CIA today discovered that they won’t be prosecuted at all, despite their complicity in the torture of fellow human beings. Nope, they’ve managed to escape completely, despite breaking both American and International laws and wiping their feet on the moral foundations of the “Western world”. Water Boarding, sleep deprivation, Boo boxing (locking someone in a box with bugs, which in this case they didn’t do, they just thought of it), face slapping and wall slamming. Quite a list, isn’t it? You tell me who the biggest douchebag (great word) is, George W Bush for allowing it, the individuals that carried it out, or Barack Obama for simultaneously announcing and denouncing it, whilst also handing out a get-out-of-jail-free card to anyone involved?
Don’t despair though dear reader, this isn’t going to turn into another ranting post about deathbots, no… oh hang on, yes, yes, it is in fact going to turn into another ranting post about deathbots, or Autonomous Rotocraft Sniper Systems (ARSS :-) ) to be exact. Take one unmanned Vigilante helicopter, attach one .338 caliber rifle and use a frankensteined Xbox 360 controller to aim. Nice. At least my dedication to videogames might come in handy!
I suppose that so long as Barack plans to play nice with Cuba and web based companies across the U.K. are telling Phorm to phuck off, some hope remains.
I have previously covered the subjects of deathbots and the recent US excursions over the Pakistani border. Luckily, someone in the White House is an avid reader and decided to combine the two.
Now remember that this is “us”, the ones supposedly more responsible and trustworthy, launching a drone into one of our allies countries, without permission and then killing some of them when they tried to stop us.
I would be feeling incredibly guilty right now if I had [knowingly] helped with any part of that system and that’s why I can’t work on defense projects.
Ok, so the title is a bit of a marketing ploy, but it grabbed your attention didn’t it!
One of the reasons I left my last job was because it was decided that the company was going to refocus on the defense sector. This was not a particularly outlandish decision as this was where most of the teams experience was based, never the less it was not something I wanted to be a part of. I had fears of one day seeing something I had worked on being used to bring pain, suffering and probably death on innocent people, after all, I had no control over who the systems were sold to (I’m not suggesting I should have done). I now feel vindicated and here’s why.
One of the projects I worked on whilst on this job was blighter (I was responsible for the regression testing of the front end software). Blighter is basically superficially a clever e-scan radar system that can be used to track anything from a tank to a sand badger, across all sorts of terrain. One day, I was looking at something one of the guys had worked up, whereby the radar could track a Software Engineer moving across the courtyard (there were no sand badgers available) and focus a camera on that position. I was horrified when I considered the possibility of switching the camera for a weapon of some kind and instantly imagined such devices being used to control borders in North Korea, or other such places.
The blighter system has now been ordered by the MOD and the story was also picked up by The Register. If you look in the comments section, you will see that people are already suggesting adding a .50 Cal to the blighter and creating a “gunbot”. Deathbot more like and soooooo not for me!