Drones should be banned from private use, says Google's Eric Schmidt

From an interview with the Guardian newspaper (UK).  [UPDATE: This is actually a repost from April. Sorry about that!]

The use of cheap, miniature "everyman" drones needs to be banned by international treaties before such devices fall into the hands of private users including terrorists, the head of Google has said.

In an extended interview with the Guardian, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google and an adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, warned of the potential of new technology to "democratise the ability to fight war", and said drones could soon be used to harass and spy on neighbours.

"You're having a dispute with your neighbour," he hypothesised. "How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?"

Schmidt set out the trajectory of robotic warfare and considered whether it would be confined solely to national governments. "It's probable that robotics becomes a significant component of nation state warfare," he said.

"I'm not going to pass judgment on whether armies should exist, but I would prefer to not spread and democratise the ability to fight war to every single human being.

"It's got to be regulated. You just can't imagine that British people would allow this sort of thing, and I can't imagine American people would allow this sort of thing. It's one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they're doing, but have other people doing it … It's not going to happen."

Views: 3100

Comment by Phil Gordon on December 8, 2013 at 11:56am

Like the prohibition of alcohol if people really want one/it they will find the ingredients to make it.

Eric needs to get out of the bubble he is living in and put his feet on the ground and touch terra ferma.

Comment by Austin Laws on December 8, 2013 at 1:23pm
Idiot. Says him while his company spies on us via their search engine. Hence not using anything google!
Comment by Euan Ramsay on December 9, 2013 at 1:17am
Why is he mentioning the British? Sorry - it might not be ideal regulation-wise, but I'm able to fly commercially there...
Comment by Alexsey Novik on December 9, 2013 at 3:50am

banning any modern technology is pointless 

everybody can build 3d printer, copter or plane with off-the-shelf parts 

Comment by Nikola Rabchevsky on December 10, 2013 at 7:57pm

IMHO, Google is becoming more and more like Microsoft of the recent past every day.  They wanted control or at least domination of the search engine world and they got it.  They wanted control of the cellphone and tablet OS.  They might have had that if Apple wasn't as strong as they are now.  Ultimately, they just want to expand their empire.  The DIY community is a threat to their pervasiveness.  Go make something.


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