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I am interested in the intersection of Gregory’s analysis of drone warfare and Nathan’s lecture on the extensions of man. Specifically, I was intrigued by Nathan’s question, “What did I just touch?” in the context of UAV targeted assassination. Whereas the implications of purchasing a book on Amazon may be less clear, drone strikes epitomize (albeit a dark extreme) mechanically enhanced tactility; rather than touch, they kill. Drones facilitate digital murder in a startling interaction between the hyper real (pilots operate through mediated images displayed on a screen) and the real (human beings in the war zone).

The network of instantaneous communication that comprises the “kill-chain” also enables a disturbing compression of time-space. A morphological analogy is compelling here: “eyes” and “fists” represented by UAVs patrol the zone of interest. These extrema are connected via “neurons”, the satellite signals/data, to the “brain”, command centers and pilot terminals in the U.S., which doles out commands. This digitized body extends across continents, collapses distance and facilitates rapid reactions. Indeed, the war machine assumes a God-like quality, represented by the disturbing names given to the various UAVs and their component parts: predator, reaper, hellfire missiles, and gorgon stare.

Currently, the optimized United States kill-chain operates in less than two minutes. I am interested in the implications of a perfected kill-chain, the near instantaneous identification and destruction of targets. Gregory mentions in the article that already the Air Force “envisages it [kill-chain] being compressed to seconds by 2025.” At this point, would it be less of a chain and more of an omnipresent consciousness? It would seem no longer God-like; just simply God, one built on Earth and whose body is data.