Attack of The Drones

The latest in the string of controversies as part of the United States’ ongoing “war on terror”, is the military’s growing reliance on “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” otherwise known as ‘drones’, evidenced by the international reaction to recent drone missile attacks along the border in Pakistan. The military is also deploying other technological advancements alongside, such as robots in the battlefield and drones that work in swarms. Is this just a big computer game? A new tech-driven arms race?

It doesn’t end there though — drones are now creeping into use by police and the intelligence services as a surveillance tool; and in Zurich, Switzerland, scientists have been developing flying robots for use in the construction industry, showing how a few small drones can lift heavy concrete blocks into place to build a complex tower structure without human intervention.

The technology also gives rise to worrying questions about snooping and invasion of privacy — and not merely because of the actions of government. With private companies in the US and Europe now developing cheap aerial drones that can be controlled with the kind of software used in smart phones, drones just a couple of centimetres wide may soon be commercially available for citizen use, for a few hundred dollars…