On the Humanist discussion list John Keating recommended the short video Slaughterbots that presents a plausible scenario where autonomous drones are used to target dissent using social media data. Watch it! It is well done and presents real issues in a credible short video.

While the short is really about autonomous weapons and the need to ban them, I note that one of ideas included is that dissent could be silenced by using social media to target people. The scenario imagines that university students who shared a dissenting video on social media have their data harvested (including images of their faces) and the drones target them using face recognition. Science fiction, but suggestive of how social media presence can be used for control.

Keating also provided links to a critique of the short and then a response to the critique:

Why You Shouldn’t Fear “Slaughterbots” (2017) IEEE Spectrum – A dystopian future in which killer robots are massacring innocents is terrifying, but let’s be clear: It’s very much science fiction (Paul Scharre)

Why You Should Fear “Slaughterbots”— A Response (2018) IEEE Spectrum – Lethal autonomous weapons are not science fiction; they are a real threat to human security that we must stop now (Stuart Russell, Anthony Aguirre, Ariel Conn and Max Tegmark)