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As Long as We Remember...

December 9, 2013

Amazonís Drones Just The Start

Steven R. Berryman

Got out the 10-gauge shotgun for fun. Sittin’ on the porch looking for those plastic whirly-gig things; dropping little packages of robot-poo onto my neighbor’s doorsteps. I’m told that they are “delivery drones.” Just shot me one.


Amazon just announced it had already developed functional, unmanned, hovering helicopters to deliver packages up to five pounds in weight. UPS said “Me Too” very shortly thereafter. The Federal Aviation Administration said it is already researching how delivery drones can be integrated into current flight patterns.


Still, gonna take pot-shots at ’em if they come to my hood.


Don’t trust drones. They are pilotless aircraft. Heartless, soulless contraptions. Run by computer and map data programs. If they fail and drop on your head or malfunction and crash on your car causing an accident, the blame will fall to the computer. Sorry, but that‘s just the risk you take for “progress.”


Saved 45 cents on that paperback, you know….


Now, I can see drones for military use in foreign battlegrounds, like observation balloons in the Civil War, or zeppelins in World War II; all strange alien technology at the time. Spying from above for true national security is fair game.


Very recently it has been revealed that Area 51 has been the proving ground for large spy drones with 150-foot wingspans and the stealth look of a B-2 Bomber. These drones are refuelable, and can carry a nuclear payload, surveillance sensor packages, or normal war-loads as needed. Reportedly these replacements for the SR-71 Blackbird airplane of “SkunkWorks” fame have been used for recon over Iran and North Korea over the past three years. Probably more, as we acknowledge a “small fleet.”


Go to any big box store selling Christmas gifts and see marvelous technology demonstrators masquerading as toys that hover by remote control. For about $20 you can get a mini-attack helicopter wirelessly controlled with rechargeable battery. They use twin stabilized counter-rotating blades for lift and last in the air much longer than older versions.


Now take that concept and play it forward. Extrapolate it to the National Security Agency/Federal Bureau of Investigation/Defense Intelligence Agency/Central Intelligence Agency usages these agencies are already known for, like domestic espionage; yes, when it’s noticed, they say it was an oversight. More like an over-flight! Can you say “plausible deniability?”


Micro or nano or really teeny-weenie, itsy bitsy flying things like insects with cameras already have been developed and are in darkest secret status. They can literally fly through your windows, take your picture in the shower and broadcast it back to a home vehicle in “real-time.” Yes they can…and will not admit.


I keep my windows closed.


My concern is that when a technology is developed, no matter the purpose, it can be abused. A delivery drone can become a parking ticket drone. In a Judge Dredd-style future dystopia, why not arm the bots with stinky paintball guns to fire penalty shots at cars overstaying their metered time? How ’bout summary executions by air when the big computer predicts a high likelihood you are about to commit a crime?


Again, history has taught us that if a technological capability exists, it will be eventually fully utilized. Keep shooting down the drones.


The Jetsons were right….vertical air space is about to be jammed and populated by flying robots, if we don’t push back hard and fast. Big money is invested there now.


Let’s pay this forward to future generations by halting it now.


Yellow Cab
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