A foreign soldier guards several highly important captives in a stone 10×10 structure in the compound surrounded by 20 ft concrete walls and visual detection for miles in the desert wasteland. He walks his predetermined route of patrol looking for any sign of intrusion and rescue. The only sign of life in the barren enclosure is a sole earthworm crawling across the a rock within the grounds, seen but unregistered in the guard’s threat assessment.
Moments later the guard drops, cut down from a sniper’s bullet, as does his counterparts on the west end of the compound patrol as well as the hidden soldier napping in a darkened corner. In a small mostly underground bunker the watchman dies from a toxic gas release before he can hit the panic alarm. Moments later Blackhawks appear on the horizon and charge for the compound, in tandem releasing special forces who free the captives and secure the remaining insurgent forces.
Without casualty and realtime intel the squadron successfully accomplished their mission. Without compromising cover the team was able to keep their efforts in shrouded secrecy with the help of an unsuspecting ally.
MIT Researchers with the backing of DARPA have created a robotic mesh worm that moves and reacts like an earthworm. Capable of concealing cameras and I am sure much more the sentient biotic can move relatively unnoticed through most any terrain. Advance scouting for troop layout and location blueprint, infiltration into secure areas.
How does this fit into your life?
Well besides the fact that DARPA’s profile is very similar to Cyberdyne, the parent company that created Skynet which in turn released the cyber attack and subsequent Terminator attacks on humanity, this scares me. Not myself personally because in no way does the U.S. Government care what I am doing, do they really want a worm tailing me while I read sci-fi novels? Actually yes, maybe they do. But imagine the ability for the government to monitor most any location at anytime by simple activating any one of a millions of “worms,” and someday spider-like equivalents or maybe flying mechanisms watching and analyzing citizen movements. It sounds like the beginnings of what would be billed as a safer society, with law enforcement able to monitor any street corner at any moment and review an area in the event of a crime.
But what happens to privacy? Do you want to be on a watch list because a candid discussion you had with a friend about the President was monitored by a drone worm, or that a fly monitored you mistakenly crossing a double line while making a u-turn. Every move monitored and analyzed for threat assessment. Homes invaded looking for poker games that don’t claim tax earnings, lemonade stands tracked for accurate unit counts sold. Philip K. Dick had a novel that most people haven’t read, but in turn have seen the movie, Minority Report.
If you don’t think technology can go so far as to create an oppositional self-aware fully independent computer network such as HAL or as advanced as T-1000, maybe they can create the monitoring system, sans the foretelling, of Minority Report. That should be enough to scare you right into shivers at the mere mention of the name (acronym), DARPA.
Goodnight, sweet dreams.
*note- if you think bipedal robots are not as agile and scary enough to be a concern check out what DARPA engineers are capable of in these early stages, imagine this guy with arm mounted weaponry.