Droning on About Drones

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Law, Policing, Research, Technology & Crime
Tags: , , , , , ,

Several months ago, and again this past weekend, I engaged in discussions about drones, how they’re being used, what the potential for abuse might be, and how we go forward from here. The perspectives run the gamut from those who say “no drones, no way,” to those who say “drones okay, but unarmed only,” to others who feel that literally the sky’s the limit.

If you haven’t read it yet, Daniel Suarez’s book, Kill Decision, is not only an excellent story, it’s also a fascinating look at the potential future of drone technology.  The book tends toward the dystopian, but it may not be too far off in terms of its predictions about how drones are ultimately used in the future.

Daniel Suarez’s TED Talk from June 2013 on the topic of lethal autonomous drones

I personally have a complex position on drones. I love technology and feel that drones hold significant promise for so many fields, policing being just one. At the same time, however, the technology is outstripping society’s ability to understand and regulate its use. This would be especially true of the lethal autonomous drones that Suarez warns about in his novel and TED Talk.

The ACLU has also raised concerns related to the privacy implications of drone use by the police. For this reason, some communities, such as Seattle, have declared a moratorium on drone use by police, pending further research. Other jurisdictions are going full steam ahead despite reservations.

But, police aren’t the only ones using drones. The group, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) announced they’ll begin using drones to monitor hunters. And, there are any number of individuals and hobbyists who enjoy using (and abusing) drones for their personal enjoyment.

So, what’s your opinion on drones? Technological marvel or sinister tool of Big Brother? Vote in this week’s poll!

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