The future of warfare in the 21st century becomes more and more clear with every passing year. Robots, drones, cyberspace-- these are the tools and places of warfare for the future. The Department of Defense has recently commissioned
some techies in Massachusetts to build new robotic tools for our country to employ in its defense. In what seems to be a mixture of Power Rangers Zords
, Transformers, and The Terminator, the robots commissioned are a cheetah-like creature that can run up to 30 MPH, a hummingbird-lookalike spybot, and man-like ATLAS
, which bears an eery resemblance to a Terminator prototype. These manmade creatures will join others like BigDog
, which was created a few years ago to help soldiers carry 300 extra pounds of gear around. The robots will have various uses for civil and military use. Within the realm of warfare, they--like our new drones and other computer-powered aircraft--will allow us to engage in risky operations with less risk to human life. As our population ages, they will also become useful in helping an elderly population, as robots do in Japan
Meanwhile, the Internet continues to turn into more and more of a dangerous battlefield. Cyberterrorism is now considered a major threat to American interests-- a serious attack could derail the economy or cut off vital services. Politically, we have already seen the power that the Internet plays in world affairs in recent months--from Iran to WikiLeaks to the Jasmine Revolution. Tyrants are increasingly struggling to try control this powerful weapon. We have already seen cyberwars play out-- the Russian attack on Georgia
in 2008 (preceding their invasion of Georgia), Chinese attacks
on American intelligence agencies, the cyber attack on Iran's
nuclear facilities, and more. Cyberwarfare poses the same problem that terrorist cells do, though, complicating the problem-- non-government entities are fully capable of engaging in battle over the Internet themselves. There are two good and recent examples of "independent" (or "rogue") cyberwarfare. The first is the Battle of WikiLeaks over the past few months-- when infamous computer hacker Julian Assange began to release the secret documents, WikiLeaks and those internet services supporting WikiLeaks found themselves under attack, with hackers claiming
that the first Cyber War had officially begun.
For the past several years, a second group of internet hacker activists ("hacktivists") called Anonymous has been gaining more notice in the fields of cyberwar. They have long fought the Church of Scientology, sending out a message in 2008 where they
pledge to "expel the church from the planet." They have constantly attacked and temporarily taken down Scientology websites; they have organized hundreds of demonstrations against Scientology (in which most people show up in Guy Fawkes masks); they made it so that the second thing that pops up in Google Search when you type in "cult" is "Scientology". Their other targets have included the white supremacist Hal Turner, the Iranian government, the government of Zimbabwe, Ireland's Fine Gael party, several Arab governments throughout the recent revolutions, and the Westboro Baptist Church.
They were asked to help fight WikiLeaks, but they instead sided with WikiLeaks and attacked websites that turned against Assange's band of hackers. This past weekend, Anonymous has declared war
on the Koch Brothers, accusing them of subverting democracy. Yesterday they attacked the websites of Americans for Prosperity, and pledge to continue their attacks. The US Government, for its part, understands the growing threat of both state-sponsored and rogue cyberwarfare, and is stepping up recruitment
to help prepare us for combat in this new field of battle.
So, there you have it. War and politics increasingly exist in the worldly plain ruled by Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, and hackers who seem to really be into V for Vendetta
. Everything from pets to receptionists are increasingly robotic. They have beaten us at chess, and now at jeopardy
. We still have an opportunity to follow the warnings of The Terminator, The Matrix, Battlestar Galactic, I Robot, and pretty much every other SciFi story, before it's too late! In any event, "I for one welcome our new computer overlords."