Tuesday, February 11, 2014

UAV: Delivery Boy Or Angel Of Death?

Many of you may remember a few months back when Amazon announced it's upcoming "Prime Air" delivery system, using a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to fly packages to the customer's front door.  This announcement created a great deal of controversy, which ultimately boils down to issues people have with drones in general.  Learn more about Prime Air here:


Naturally, this reaction is due to the ever increasing use of drones by the military to carry out extrajudicial assassination across the world, people are afraid that such technology will only further remove human beings from the consequences of their actions during war.  Yesterday independent journalists Glen Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill released a new set of Snowden's documents revealing that the targeted assassination program uses communications metadata to decide on targets for a strike.  Learn more about it here:


So in a way, many peoples worst fear about drones has already come true, though in a far removed location.  Drones that fly the skies and target you based on your electronic footprint and the GPS location of your phone;  People are worried about the mass popularity of drones being created through programs like Prime Air because they are allowing so called "killer drones" to be swept under the carpet.

Is it to late for drones?  Can they be turned from the dark side?  It is certainly true that the nature of any robot reflects the nature of its creator, and so we can imagine in the home brew robot movement that many trends of robotic activity will emerge, some good and some bad.  Its hard in some ways not to imbue robots with their own will, but it must be remembered that robots are a tool, like a shovel or a saw, the user determines what sort of function the tool carries out.

We humans have many problems, but as long as we use only a hammer, these problems will all look like nails, but humanities true gift is the imagination to create new tools for solving problems.  The robots and UAV's are new tools, but we must recognize them for such and stop treating them as hammers, or their true potential will be wasted and the problems of earth will spiral out of control.

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