Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Peeping Drone Syndrome

I won't even pretend to understand the current debate over drones. It reminds me of the last few years and the rabid proliferation of zombies and vampires that have seized our collective throats. Everywhere you look there are zombies walking the street, they were even taking out home loans because I have seen the term Zombie Loan, (homes that are foreclosed but the owner is still living inside). And of course we all assume the banking industry as a whole is nothing more than vampires in suits (see Vampire REOs) living off our blood, but I do see their minions out in the daylight so there may be some debate here. (Think about this: A zombie vampire flies a drone to an alien spaceship in Area 51 - because the pilot is twice dead he can pilot a drone and it can still be called a drone.)

But it is drones that have recently caught our collective conscience and fear by the public. The latest installment of 24 has Jack Bauer trying to chase down drones in London, drones are being used to find the kidnapped children in Nigeria, and we certainly hear of them over Middle Eastern targets. But it's our fear they are being used to peek over our back fences (or actually from high overhead) to check on what we're all about.
CHP says it's fake - but is it really?
Big brother is watching. Well he's everywhere anyway, not as much here in the U.S. as elsewhere but here nonetheless. I understand that in London and other British cities you may be digitally taped a dozen times a day as you move about the city – maybe more if you take the tube. So what's the big deal? We pour out our lives on Facebook and LinkedIn. They are cheaper than helicopters to track bad guys, they can provide great data for environmental management at far less cost, can watch traffic flows again at much less cost, and as we all know (see 60 Minutes broadcast) deliver refrigerators to your driveway – just ask Amazon (the reality is they probably couldn't even deliver a blender).

There's discussion about using them to provide WiFi service to remote areas, real time vacation travel video for couch potatoes, and environmental surveillance and management.

And they are cool, just check out this TED talk using drones, exciting and scary at the same time.

Go here if it doesn't pop up:

We look at these machines as some form of Terminator technology, malevolent and overreaching. To see how the FAA is concerned is understandable and yes one of these toys sucked into a jet engine would be potentially catastrophic, but so would a radio control airplane (early drone) that have been around for more than fifty years.

Outside of the military, the potential uses are almost limitless. The following pie chart explains a lot. 

And I wonder what universities really use them for? They are certainly safer than a ladder against a sorority house second floor window, right Bluto?

Ladder versus Drone - easy choice.

Stay Tuned . . . . . . . . .