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Do-Gooder Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles can be utilized for social good.

Tags: Utne drones

The Remotely Piloted American Way of Life: In the American mind, if Apple made weapons, they would undoubtedly be drones, those remotely piloted planes getting such great press here. They have generally been greetedas if they were the sleekest of iPhones armed with missiles.
And can you blame Americans for their love affair with the drone? Who wouldn’t be wowed by the most technologically advanced, futuristic, no-pain-all-gain weapon around?
Here’s the thing, though: put drones in a more familiar  context, skip the awestruck commentary, and they should have been eerily  familiar. If, for instance, they were car factories, they would seem so  much less exotic to us.
Keep reading …

The Remotely Piloted American Way of Life: In the American mind, if Apple made weapons, they would undoubtedly be drones, those remotely piloted planes getting such great press here. They have generally been greetedas if they were the sleekest of iPhones armed with missiles.

And can you blame Americans for their love affair with the drone? Who wouldn’t be wowed by the most technologically advanced, futuristic, no-pain-all-gain weapon around?

Here’s the thing, though: put drones in a more familiar context, skip the awestruck commentary, and they should have been eerily familiar. If, for instance, they were car factories, they would seem so much less exotic to us.

Keep reading …

In late December, the lot was just a big blank: a few burgundy metal  shipping containers sitting in an expanse of crushed eggshell-colored  gravel inside a razor-wire-topped fence.  The American military in  Afghanistan doesn’t want to talk about it, but one day soon, it will be a  new hub for the American drone war in the Greater Middle East.
Next year, that empty lot will be a two-story concrete  intelligence facility for America’s drone war, brightly lit and filled  with powerful computers kept in climate-controlled comfort in a country  where most of the population has no access to electricity.   It will boast almost 7,000 square feet of offices, briefing and  conference rooms, and a large “processing, exploitation, and  dissemination” operations center—and, of course, it will be built with  American tax dollars.
Keep reading …

In late December, the lot was just a big blank: a few burgundy metal shipping containers sitting in an expanse of crushed eggshell-colored gravel inside a razor-wire-topped fence.  The American military in Afghanistan doesn’t want to talk about it, but one day soon, it will be a new hub for the American drone war in the Greater Middle East.

Next year, that empty lot will be a two-story concrete intelligence facility for America’s drone war, brightly lit and filled with powerful computers kept in climate-controlled comfort in a country where most of the population has no access to electricity.  It will boast almost 7,000 square feet of offices, briefing and conference rooms, and a large “processing, exploitation, and dissemination” operations center—and, of course, it will be built with American tax dollars.

Keep reading …

"An account of the spectacular end of that nearly $4 million drone in November 2007 is contained in a collection of Air Force accident investigation documents recently examined by TomDispatch. They catalog more than 70 catastrophic Air Force drone mishaps since 2000, each resulting in the loss of an aircraft or property damage of $2 million or more."

TomDispatch on the hidden costs of military drones, or, why robotic warfare is bound to crash and burn. Keep reading …

Big Brother already has access to our permanent records, and soon he might literally be capable of looking over our shoulders.
The T-Hawk is a flying robot small enough to fit in your backpack and  able to hover deftly, observe its surroundings, and pursue a target. The  Draganflyer X6 is an ultraquiet miniature helicopter that weighs less  than three pounds and can stealthily photograph subjects wherever they  are—indoors or out. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like these have  transformed the way we wage war on foreign soil. Soon they may change  how we police our streets at home.
Read more …

Big Brother already has access to our permanent records, and soon he might literally be capable of looking over our shoulders.

The T-Hawk is a flying robot small enough to fit in your backpack and able to hover deftly, observe its surroundings, and pursue a target. The Draganflyer X6 is an ultraquiet miniature helicopter that weighs less than three pounds and can stealthily photograph subjects wherever they are—indoors or out. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like these have transformed the way we wage war on foreign soil. Soon they may change how we police our streets at home.

Read more …