It sounds like something out of the Terminator movies: automated drones that can identify, track and eliminate individual targets without explicit human approval.

Today’s U.S. drones require a person to make the decision to fire. But, according to novelist Daniel Suarez, autonomous robotic weapons are virtually an inevitability.

In this TED talk from the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, Suarez walks us through two scenarios: one where governments used automated war machines to undermine democracy, and another where publicly tracked drones improve the quality of life for us all.

His 13-minute presentation provides a lot to ponder as drones become ever more popular and sophisticated.


More on drones:

With Drones Circling, How Should Lawmakers Respond?

Why Drones Should Make You Afraid. Very Afraid

As Spy Drones Come to the U.S., We Must Protect Our Privacy