A thoughtful response to "OMG--The drones are coming!" articles

Evan at BotJunkie has a thoughtful piece that brings some much-needed perspective to the growing crop of poorly-informed articles that we're starting to see in the media by journalists discovering amateur UAVs for the first time. (Actually, most of the time what they're talking about is just RC/FPV, rather than autonomous UAVs of the sort we do here, but this distinction is almost always lost in the popular press). He's responding to a particularly egregious example of the form, this TechCrunch article



Essentially, my point here is that with any new technology, you can come up with worst-case examples of how it can be used that are guaranteed to scare people. Pick anything you want: cars, airplanes, electricity, medicine, the Internet… In each case, it’s possible to take some aspect of that technology and focus on how dangerous it is.

I won’t beat this to death, but let’s use cars as an easy example. Imagine for a sec that it’s 1900 or thereabouts, you’re used to walking around and riding horses, and people are starting to talk about these big metal things that move around super fast by using controlled explosions. I bet it would be pretty easy to convince people that they’re just going to run them over and blow up, especially since to some extent, it’s true, that happens. But imagine what it would be like now if people had believed that stuff and stifled the development of the car. It would have set back society as a whole, not just that technology.


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Comment by Peter Seddon on January 31, 2011 at 1:52pm

And here is a recent article about the first UK car accident in 1896 




Comment by Mike on January 31, 2011 at 3:11pm

Another OMG article . . .

Drones Get Ready to Fly, Unseen, Into Everyday Life

  • "certainly a husband is going to be able to track a wife who goes out at 11 o'clock at night and follow her,"
  • "Could nosey neighbors use a drone to monitor who isn't picking up after their dogs?"
Comment by Mike on February 2, 2011 at 7:01pm
Boston Review article -- Robocop: Drones at Home


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