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Soon the police will send a robot to kill you for the wrong tweet

Gerry Bello

The military has been using drones in a lethal capacity for over a decade. The current administration has decided to increase the use of drones, and the number of civilian casualties overseas has increased. Drones have been used for the extrajudicial execution of American citizens overseas without trial. Senator Feinstein profits directly from the drone war. Donald Trump openly salivates about using more drones and Hillary “black teenagers are super predators that must be brought to heel” Clinton never saw an elementary school full of children of color she wouldn't bomb.

Some members of the press have noted that the drone delivered bomb that killed Micah Johnson was the first time an American citizen was killed with a drone on American soil. The drone that killed him was a simple bomb disposal robot. The robot was developed by the military and used in Iraq. It and others like it have been given as surplus to police departments around the country. The bomb was probably an improvised device based on one or more directional blast effect munitions known as breaching charges. These were likely also military surplus or developed there.

The military is full committed to drones. There is an institutional framework for development of drones on land, sea and air planned out to 2032. This framework is outlined in two unclassified documents, the Human Systems Roadmap Review 2016 (download availible below) and the Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007 – 2032. Between these two documents, it is clear that the military is committed to autonomous drones, driven by company commander determined parameters, using social media to make kill decisions.

Imagine a headless metal dog with a machine gun mounted on it's back. Imagine that robot processing social media input including specifically tweets and Facebook messages and hunting for people based on it's interpretation of that social media data and metadata. Those interpretations will be informed by junior military officer's decisions and subject to the limitations of said officers understanding of a foreign language, of subtlety and nuance, and of sarcasm. The UGVs I just described, or unmanned ground systems, or drones, exist now. The project is called Big Dog and is headed by Boston Dynamics. The processing and autonomous operating capacity are scheduled to be ready in 2019.

The automated processing of social media is for target selection is something the NSA does in order to trigger human intervention already. The software packages that do this are in part known by names like MetaCarta and Tartan. Combining this with the FBI's next generation facial recognition software and stingray cellphone technology and you have the literally a perfect killing machine. As long as nobody cares who dies. Given the military's studied disinterest in even compiling figures on civilian casualties overseas, we can assume the Pentagon will not bother to pick eggshell from those omelets.

Will this technology come home? Drones already have and were used as soon as discretion permitted. A drone delivered bomb was not needed to stop Micah Johnson. He was trapped without possibility of escape. He was not able to target additional people. Although the police claim they could not assault his position without risk and negotiations had broken down, he was wounded, bleeding and without water or food. He could have been captured without an additional shot fired. The Dallas police used a drone delivered bomb because they were angry and lazy and nobody told them not to. The decision was made by the commander on the scene, who had the equivalent responsibility of a company commander who will one day soon program killer Big Dog drones to hunt people because the government doesn't like their Facebook posts.

How long till the Big Dog is on my porch? Given the past as a guide, systems find their way from the military to the police rather quickly. Robot s of the exact type that killed Micah Johnson have found their way into the arsenals of 478 police departments in the last nine years. MRAPS, or Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles were first deployed in Iraq in 2007 in their current form after three years of testing and development by the Marine Corps. They were in the hands of civilian police by 2011. There are now 780 of these armored cars in the hands of police departments around the country. Some of those departments serve small towns of 10,000 people and have fewer than 70 officers. Based on past experience with the military development cycle, we can expect to see the Big Dog on the porch before the end of Hillary Clinton's second term.

Clinton will clearly have no problem using the Big Dogs domestically to bring the black community to “heel.” Considering that police officials were calling black lives matter protestors domestic terrorists before Dallas, and some police officials are known open members of white supremacist organizations, these literal faceless killing machines will have a racial bias built in.

Clinton, who began her career in politics in 1964 as a teenage booster for pro-segregation candidate Barry Goldwater, will likely make bland noises about software updates as she continues to give the modern day slave patrol a high tech upgrade. When the bodies stack up, there will be calls for better programing of the faceless killing machines from liberal quarters as opposed to actual demands for accountability. The drones will likely be functioning exactly as specified.