I've been a big fan of the band Muse ever since hearing their song Starlight on a local college radio station. The best thing about the band is that they are totally a nerd band (no surprise, as frontman Matt Bellamy is the son of George Bellamy, rhythm guitarist of the Tornados, whose Telstar is a glorious bit of 1960s rocket-pop), whether referencing astrophysics in their music or channeling a gloriously cheesy science-fantasy kung-fu space western (a fantastic spoof of a cheap European knockoff of a gloriously cheesy science-fantasy samurai space western). Besides the band's impeccable nerd-cred, they also have released political songs urging listeners to break out of the mass-media propaganda bubble.
In the runup to the release of the band's upcoming album, Drones, Mr Bellamy took on the topic of drone warfare and the societal implications of their expanded use:
Now, speaking to Mac, Bellamy elaborated that the album was "a modern metaphor for what it is to lose empathy." He continued: "I think that through modern technology, and obviously through drone warfare in particular, it’s possible to actually do quite horrific things by remote control, at a great distance, without actually feeling any of the consequences, or even feeling responsible in some way."
"The next step in drones is gonna be autonomous drones, which actually make ‘kill’ decisions themselves, where no humans are involved," Bellamy added.
Heady stuff, coming from a "rockstar". Personally, my take on the use of drones is that they remove the danger of human casualties on the battlefield, but that the very depersonalization of warfare further lowers the bar for violence. If an operator can kill an individual while sitting in an air-conditioned room two thousand miles away, the very act of killing can become no more emotional than playing a video game is. In the case of autonomous drones, even the slightest moral element is removed from the act.
Of course, the moralist is also a rockstar, so here is a video of a badass live performance of the new song Reapers:
As a final note, our society has hit a pretty bad low when rock songs are a better source of information that the news media.