While we don’t live in a modern surveillance state ala 1984 (“Yet.” –Ron Paul), the executive branch of the U.S. government is engaged in a massive and unprecedented use of technology to surveil and attack its enemies. Like it or not, the current reality is that President Obama will retain control of a military and intelligence operation that will not hesitate to monitor, record, and act on available information in terrifying ways. CNN estimates that in just under one term, the recently re-elected president executed between 1,494 to 2,618 civilians.
And to entertain any counter-factual: Governor Romney was entirely in agreement with Obama’s stance during the foreign policy debate. One difference between the two, of course, was highlighted in Obama’s dig towards Romney as an advocate for horses and bayonets. That time is over. So here’s a look at what might just help kill you or an unnamed, unreported civilian of a foreign nation in the near future, via a report from Wired:
1. Autonomous Drones: drone strikes will always be part of a chain of command that leads back to a human. But the chain is getting longer. There is evidence that newer technologies will automate some of the features (GPS trajectories, for instance) that lead to deadly strikes.
2. Super-High-Res Surveillance: right now you don’t really have to worry about drones spying on you with any accuracy. However, camera technology is rapidly improving. “Wide Airborne Surveillance Systems” are ramping up their storage and image quality. And speaking of storage…
3. Data Storage: The NSA is reportedly working on a huge data center ($2 billion huge), presumably to keep a record of every time you did anything ever, though that’s speculation
4. Mini-missiles: it’s happening. It’s not quite at Iron Man level yet, but as drones become more prevalent, there will be a push to make their payloads lighter.
5. Hypersonic Missiles: presumably larger than the aforementioned, the DARPA is working on a hypersonic missile that would zoom to its target at a speed of Mach 20. While these haven’t been treated in the press as a game-changing, nuke-carrying ICBM, who knows how exactly they’ll be applied.
6. Sensor Fusion: so right now the military can eavesdrop on your phone calls, and they can spot you from a drone. Doing both at the same time is trickier, but it’s probably going to be solved fast. In fact, as Wired points out, a pilot program known as Blue Devil is already in place.
Follow through to the tech site for more information on any of these chilling high-tech developments.