THE FUTURE OF DRONES NANO, AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS, AND SCIENCE FICTION
The next phase of development in unmanned technologies is likely to take place in micro/nanoscale technologies or autonomous systems, both of which stand to change the way drones are used and which each present a new set of debates. As Vice puts it, "in keeping with its vision for a 'smaller and leaner' military that's agile, flexible, fast, and cutting-edge, the DoD will work on 'miniaturizing' drones and drone weapons to make them smaller, lighter and less energy-consuming." That comment draws on the Defense Department's 25-year Unmanned Roadmap, which observes that by going in the direction of miniaturization, it will also make the systems more affordable for the US taxpayer.1
All of these capture the imagination and are increasingly portrayed in science fiction, from movies to video games to books. This concluding chapter first investigates the turn to miniaturization and then closes with prognostications about the future of drones, and whether the future will look more like a science fiction movie or whether science fiction involving drones will be mere escapism, with life ultimately not imitating art.