Living in the Drone Age: What is the impact of military unmanned vehicles on the global sociopolitical structure?
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Since the turn of the millennium, our world has undergone major changes in the way war is carried out. Global, nation-to-nation conflicts have given way to an ongoing struggle between peacekeeper and terrorist. At the same time, technological developments continue to decrease the concepts of border and distance as travel and communication are made easier. One of the most significant developments in recent years is that of the “drone” or UAV, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. While drones have provided immense recreational and commercial benefits, military entities are now utilizing them on a daily basis for reconnaissance, combat, and targeted strikes. In a manner similar to the introduction of nuclear weapons, the rapid growth of this new technology has fundamentally shifted the way we view conflict. Basic understandings of justice and ethics in war must be reevaluated, now that the combatant is making decisions from thousands of miles away. The ease with which targeted strikes are now carried out must be checked by proper legislation and regulation. These discussions, although in their infancy, are now becoming the focus of many modern scholars. How will military drones forever change the way this world functions?