I’ve read three books by Linda Nagata the past days. The Last Good Man was the final one. Set in a near future it explores what can remain of a warrior code, duty and honor, in an age of AI run autonomous drones of all sizes and for all purposes. Who’s the last good man standing? The take away largely is that it basically can turn any spot on the globe into a hotzone, with humans as mere backdrop and as collateral damage. It also raises the issue of when military power monopolies are a dimension of national sovereignty, what dissolving those monopolies will look like. It’s set in the Middle East and Morocco mostly, with Burma and the Phillipines additional settings.
Having finished it last night a pointer by Bruce Sterling this morning to an article titled Drones, Deniability, and Disinformation: Warfare in Libya and the New International Disorder which describes precisely how this all currently plays out already in Libya, although currently without much AI and autonomous platforms. It also is a worthwile reminder of John Robb‘s Brave New War (2008) on ‘open source warfare’ which I read in 2012.
Bruce Sterling takes this quote from the article, about drone weapons, but it applies even more to the disinformation efforts also mentioned.
Armed drones embody a trend toward military action that minimizes the risks and costs to the intervening powers, thereby encouraging them to meddle in conflicts where no vital interests are at stake.