military droneMost people see drones as a controversial
weapon prowling over foreign battlegrounds.
But as America’s military campaigns wind
down, these machines are coming home
and set to change civilian lives forever.

“This is a powerful technology. No amount
of hand-wringing is going to stop it”, says
drone expert, Peter Singer. Whether it’s a
floating TV station streaming live to the
web, the prying lens of the paparazzi, the
police chasing a criminal or a government
agency spying, small domestic drones are
experiencing an exponential growth.

At the world’s largest drone convention in
Las Vegas a salesman tells the crowd, “this
can be used in law enforcement, disaster
relief and industrial applications. It’s also
very good at dusting floors. Every home
owner should have one”.

And as the technology advances at a
frightening speed, anyone with a few hundred
dollars can buy one over the counter.
These hobby drones can fly for miles and
provide sharp video feedback to the pilot.
“I wouldn’t cheat on your wife!”, laughs
columnist Charles Krauthammer. But jokes
aside, there are real fears over the “political,
legal and ethical issues that play out with
this”, argues Singer.

In 3 years time, an order from the US
congress will see tens of thousands of
drones legally occupy an already crowded
sky, raising numerous questions about basic
safety, terrorism and civil liberty. As
companies rush to cash in on this new billion
dollar industry, experts warn, “we’re not
ready for this”.

Video (about 27 mins):

– Alexandra


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Alexandra Bruce