Monday, 18 February 2019

Research: End of War

The next development predicted in A Brief History of the Future is an amalgamation of smell detection, infrared, AI and micro drones, designed to put an end to war and terrorism. As usual, I Googled all these to see how close we are.
  • Smell detection is already a fact, used particularly in factories. 
  • Infrared cameras have been around for a while.
  • AI or something approaching it is in development in lots of different areas.
  • Micro drones are already on the market, but with cameras or just for flying. 

The idea of bringing them all together, with the ability to charge themselves, is a master stroke. The idea is so good, I’m going to quote it in full:
In 2065 a number of technologies came together to begin putting an end to war and terrorism. These technologies included the electronic nose, micro drone development, artificial intelligence and infrared object detection. The combined micro drones or Buzz Bees were able to detect explosives, fly onto them, activate a painful high-pitched alarm to allow people to get away and then detonate a small charge. These devices were designed to destroy ammunition and explosives, but not to kill people. They were able to use power lines and solar panels to recharge their batteries and later models were able to camouflage themselves while they were charging. The first generation of Buzz Bees were ten centimetres long and vulnerable to weapon fire in small numbers. But in large numbers nothing could stop them. 

Within months hundreds of thousands of Buzz Bees had been released from missiles, aircraft, courier vans and balloons in and over war-torn regions of the globe. The resulting demilitarisation killed a few people and injured others, but the majority were combatants and the peace that ensued was lauded by local people as worth the risk. The additional benefit for local populations was that they were much less likely to kill innocent civilians than the armed drones which had been used previously. 

There was then an arms race between the developers of Buzz Bees and the companies developing explosives and military drones. However the Buzz Bees eventually became sensitive to all explosives and could destroy objects on the ground and in flight. 

Buzz Bees like technology was also used at this time to locate drugs, land mines, radioactivity, chemical and biological threats.
So will somebody go out and invent this please?

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at

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