To sum up this post:
1) Suicide bomber vs drone in 2008. The drones are starting to win the tally (I'm not sure if they have yet, but it is impressive how quickly the numbers have increased vs 2007). BTW, I don't think all suicide bombers come free. Cost of materials and benefits provided to family members is something like $25,000 to $100,000. It is not just about the number of wives in the here-after. I think the cost of a good, military grade, land drone is $200,000. The ratio (lets say 8:1) is getting closer as of 2008.
2) In 2008 there were 3 fatal bear attacks in North America. Yet that is a reasonable catalysts for endless .357 Mag vs .44 Mag threads. But drone / robot attacks in the next 5 to 10 years, in a world where already terrorist plans using drones have been uncovered, drones have been used by the military to take out 100s to 1000s (in 2008), with tech that is readly available (and being done with paint ball guns), not worth a thought?
This is not some new threat.
FOXNews.com - Iraqi Drones May Target U.S. Cities - U.S. & World
How does a robot / drone with guns give people any more opportunity to disable it or attempt escape? Dones are used every day as we speak, and people don't get away.
I don't have the numbers. However I do know drones must be effective, because our military has increased their use and numbers something like 1:1000 in the last 4 years. Off hand, I think there are around 200 MQ-1 Predators (if you also count the MQ-9 Reaper) vs 180 F-22 Raptors.
It is not a rock, paper, scissors situation where you don't need to be scared of scissors because the primatives don't have scissors. It is a matter of esculation and inevitability.
People are concerned about nuclear weapons being used, but in reality, we might be to a point that what appears to be old tech (nuclear bomb) requires far greater planing then a home made version of Talon IIIB robots.
U.S. Army asks for more killer robots in Iraq | Blog | Futurismic
Cost you ask. $100,000 to $200,000. That is with top notch stuff, under a government contract. In addition, that is today. So consider 5 to 10 years. The cost of a good drone will become around the cost of a good suicide bomber.
It is easy to state it is far fetched until it happens. But here is the question concerning what is more effective: How many more people have been killed via suicide bomber vs drone in 2008. I think the drones are starting to gain or have begun to win the tally recently in 2009. That is shocking when you consider a single suicide bombers has killed in the 30s with 200 injured.
Now if you go back to 2007, and you did not count drones just targeting (just drones with bombs) I think the the suicide bombers would have it. Then everything changed, and again, I don't know the numbers, but in 2008 I am pretty sure drones ran at least neck and neck with the heralded suicide bomber. That is one year difference. The attack on Al Qaeda No. 2 Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri hit by a pilotless predator on Oct 30, 2006, killing 82 people, many children among them. Look it up.
Now this might not be a fair comparison, as injuries need to also be added. In addition, I don't know the true stats. What I do know is the number of deaths by drone increase an amazing amount last year. Not a judgement of who is the GG or BG, just pointing out, it must be effective, and it is only a matter of time that once effective, it will be used as a tool. We are not dealing with high tech human looking terminators. Talking about home made versions that are more then effective (and the parts are not tracked).
Reminds me of the emperor's reaction after the first a-bomb in WW2. He refused to believe it was not a natural disaster. By the second one, he was terrified. We did not have any others stockpiled, but the 2nd did the trick.