Insects As Military Weapons: Yay or Nay?

Insects As Military Weapons: Yay or Nay?

Insects and military espionage aren’t usually placed in the same sentence, but news of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recent military projects using insects as military weapons has become a cause that has concerned some citizens.

DARPA’s program aims to develop Hybrid Microelectricalmechanical Systems (HI-MEMS) to combine nanotechnology with the bodies of living insects; in effect, creating insect cyborgs. DARPA believes this can improve the military’s capacity, particularly in weaponry and reconnaissance.

Society’s apathy for insects

A 2014 paper in “Society and Animals” discovered society’s lack of compassion for insects. This apathy, in effect, led to insects being unintentionally neglected, leaving them lacking the same type of protection as other animals. This lack of protection has left the insect population open to exploitation and abuse without coming across much opposition, compared to when experiments are done on dogs or cats, for example.

When technology can take over the whole role altogether

But with the rapid development of technology, why is there a need to use live insects in the first place? Why need insect cyborgs? Can’t fully robotic drones do the job instead? Wouldn’t this be a more ethical and ecologically friendly solution?

An example of this position put in practice is the Pentagon’s development of a robotic hummingbird drone without having to use any real hummingbirds in the process.

Using the same technology vilified for these projects can actually free the insects from the burden of being unnecessarily used in these projects in the first place. But until the public takes notice and stands up for this position, this unnecessary and cruel use of insect life may go on unchecked.

 

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