There is an office in London, one of a handfull in the west where an opperator sits in front of a bank of screens, from his seat, (most likely it's a man) he can make life/death calls on people thousands of miles away like an anonymous grim reaper. Detatched, coldly he watches the real time movements of the people he surveys at the behest of a higher power, (the CIA now has its own airforce, independant of the US airforce) using nothing more than a joystick he opperates a UAV that has an array of missiles to send down at selected targets. After he kills and finishes his stint at the monitors, it's on with the coat and out into the city bustle, on to the tube and home to the family. That's just weird.
Now this doesn't sit comfortably with me, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the detatchment, maybe it's the flagrant disregard of Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robitcs: (1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law). But I don't like it. Not that I like warplanes with fighter pilots much either, I don't think I'm being romantic here, but there is something more er.... honerable? about occupying the same battlefield as your foe I think.
UAV pilots suffer from a form of PTSD that is being studied at the moment. There is no firm conclusion so far but it seems that UAV pilots are in the vanguard of servicemen that are likely to suffer from a new set of mental problems as military technology advances, there is an entirely new phenomenon at work on the brain. UAV pilots have a higher risk of suffering emotional breakdown than their airborne counterparts. There is a very high rate of turnover for UAV pilots, there are currently plenty of ads on jobsites for these positions would you believe. Anecdotal evidence suggests that usually placid types are more likely to commit acts of domestic violence, hardly surprising when a mans mind is being so thoroughly ****ed with.
Killing a fellow human being is a ****ty ****ty thing for sure but killing them from a comfy office thousands of miles away is even ****tier.