I’ve enjoyed Mark Rober’s videos for a while now. They are fun, touch on accessible topics, and have decent production value. But this recent video isn’t sitting right with me


The video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrGENEXocJU

In it, he talks about a few techniques for how to take down “bad guy drones”, the problems with each, and then shows off the drone tech by Anduril as a solution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anduril_Industries

Anduril aims to sell the U.S. Department of Defense technology, including artificial intelligence and robotics. Anduril’s major products include unmanned aerial systems (UAS), counter-UAS (CUAS), semi-portable autonomous surveillance systems, and networked command and control software.

In the video, the Anduril product is a heavy drone that uses kinetic energy to destroy other drones (by flying into them). Quoting the person in the video:

imagine a children’s bowling ball thrown at twice as fast as a major league baseball fastball, that’s what it’s like getting hit by Anvil


This technology is scary for obvious reasons, especially in the wrong hands. What I also don’t like is how Mark Rober’s content is aimed at children, and this video includes a large segment advertising the children’s products he is selling. Despite that, he is promoting military technology with serious ethical implications.

There’s even a section in the video where they show off the Roadrunner, compare it against the patriot missiles, and loosely tie it in to defending against drones. While the Anvil could be used to hurt people, at least it is designed for small flying drones. The Roadrunner is not:

The Roadrunner is a 6 ft (1.8 m)-long twin turbojet-powered delta-winged craft capable of high subsonic speeds and extreme maneuverability. Company officials describe it as somewhere between an autonomous drone and a reusable missile. The basic version can be fitted with modular payloads such as intelligence and reconnaissance sensors. The Roadrunner-M has an explosive warhead to intercept UAS, cruise missiles, and manned aircraft.

  • OtterOPA
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    3 months ago

    While I’m not linking to an external article, I’m hoping that my write-up within the post can still fit with the intent of this community :)

    Maybe I’ve watched too much Black Mirror, but this video felt too similar to the tech demos at the start of a sci-fi thriller. In fact, it made me think of the Slaughterbots short film from 2017.

    Sci-Fi Short Film “Slaughterbots” | DUST (youtube.com)

    Two relevant points from that video:

    • The person in the tech demo for the drones also uses language such as “bad guys”

    • The address at the end:

    This short film is more than just speculation. It shows the results of integrating and miniaturizing technologies that we already have. I’m Stuart Russell, a professor of computer science at Berkeley. I’ve worked in AI for more than 35 years. It’s potential to benefit humanity is enormous, even in defense. But allowing machines to choose to kill humans will be devastating to our security and freedom. Thousands of my fellow researchers agree we have an opportunity to prevent the future you just saw, but the window to act is closing fast.