What disturbs me is the idea that a book about the moral hazard of military technologies should be written as if it was going to be read by robots: input decision procedure, output decision and correlated action. I know that effective military operations have traditionally been based on the chain of command and that this looks a little like the command and control structure of robots. When someone is shooting at you, I can only imagine that you need to follow orders mechanically. The heat of battle is neither the time nor the place for cool ethical reflection.
Warfare, unlike philosophy, could never be conducted from an armchair. Until now. For the first time in history, some soldiers have this in common with philosophers: they can do their jobs sitting down. They now have what I’ve always enjoyed, namely “leisure,” in the Hobbesian sense of the word, meaning they are not constantly afraid of being killed.
Drones, Ethics and the Armchair Soldier, a thoughtful piece by John Kaag for The Stone. This is a paradox in the making; the necessity of mechanical orders during wartime versus the required coolness of ethics.