Well, technology is a funny thing - it has a way of getting away from the powerful and ultimately being turned on them. Oppression is always based on a monopoly of force, and particularly the ability to inflict massive death on those who resist. So oppressors always try to have the best technology - it is much more efficient at killing. But the technology has a way of disseminating quickly these days.
Bullets and guns are tools of the powerful, but given the relative ease of manufacture, they have been turned against the oppressors on many occasions. Ditto dynamite. Easy to manufacture and transport, hard to control. I can think of a couple of current examples, and hundreds of historical examples - the Tsar didn't plan for the peasants to have guns, nor did King George. Technology levels things, in time. No army can occupy a territory where they are unwelcome, because the median level of technology is too high - anybody can build a bomb if they want to spend a day learning how.
The driving force behind the move to automation and remotely operated weapons is to minimize casualties on one side, while doing maximum damage on the other. And that will probably work very well as long as only one side has the automated, remote controlled weapons. Absence of personal risk makes war seem very appealing to the people with the power advantage. A few hundred spaniards with guns could crush thousands upon thousands of Incans without, at relatively little cost to the Spaniards. This was a marked change from an earlier contact between technological equals when the Vikings were blocked from settling in 'Vinland.'
But now everybody has guns, and the modern version of Incans have figured out how to blow up and inflict damage on the conquistadors without utterly certain death- the IED and the rifle. So some bright light gets the idea that unmanned spy planes, or robot planes with guns or some other hardware thingy will be great for blowing stuff up without taking any casualties. And it is cutting edge technology and does a lot of damage to people who don't have it, for awhile - much like guns did.
Then some angry geek figures out how to make remote planes with guns or bombs or poisin darts using duct tape, an old cell phone and a remote control airplane from Radio Shack. Then everybody knows how to do it, and the huge powerful army/oppressors cannot control the technology that has been turned on them. The differences between a precision bomb and a molotov cocktail are mostly of scale, timing and cost. The potential for damage is the same, if the timing is right.
Nuclear weapons are an exceptional variant of that process - the only limiting factor being the technical difficulty of building them, and the difficulty in obtaining some of the materials. But the big guys (US, USSR) had them first, and were able to terrorize the world with them. Now they are trying to keep everyone else from having them (without actually giving up their own). It won't work - given time, desire and money any country in the world could build them. The only thing that could work, maybe, would be to stop building them altogether.
Other, non-nuclear weapons do not have those limitations. Insurgents use $20 cell phones strapped to dynamite to blow up $500,000 Humvees, at little risk to themselves (compared to the risk of charging a line of rifles and cannons with an obsidian knife). Remotely operated, or automated, weapons will no doubt find their way into the hands of resisters eventually. How many remote controlled molotovs in the Rose Garden would it take for the powerful to reconsider their options, do you think?
Unfortunately, the powerful like their privileges, and will do a lot of damage trying to keep them. So they will keep trying to stay ahead of the anarchy curve, and probably become a lot more repressive over time. Technology can allow that as well - it is a fundamentally human output, and as prone to abuse as anything else. But any human can figure out how to use it, too. And the world gets more complex and harder to control every day. Sooner or later, probably later, the colonialists and oppressors will realize that they actually need the consent of the governed.
I posted this in another forum (into another thread with the same title...) But hey, they're my words, so I can copy them at will.