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Every Drone Is Not A Spy

Drone waiters at restaurants! Yippee! Hey wait….so who will I scowl at when they mix up my order? Oh so you mean to say humans will have to stick around?  So then what’s the whole point? Seriously, I still don’t understand.

I can’t buy the argument that drones will improve efficiency in restaurants. Infinium Robotics has tried to create a market in a place like Singapore where the government wants to curb immigration which will make cheap labor scarce. I might allow for such swagger but so far tests on drones as delivery bots haven’t yielded very good results. It is a fancy toy till we find sensible uses for them.

We know the use of drones has been successful in videography. This makes it an excellent tool for surveillance and spying. It is only a matter of time before countries come up with laws pertaining to the personal use of drones.  I just had a vision! Imagine a little cat stuck in the branch high up in a tree. I could send my personal drone to its rescue and become a hero!

Or wait, the next example is even better. You hear strange noises in your house in the middle of the night. You needn’t risk going out of the room when you can simply send your drone to investigate and collect solid proof of unwanted elements that may have entered your home. Not very different from CCTV arrangements, but what if we could arm the drones with a pepper spray attachment? But for that drones will have to become smaller and lighter. I’m sure we will need clearances and licenses to own and fly these objects and one has to be very, very careful in using these flying machines.

Imagination is great but the current set of drones are quite complex so there is work to be done in this field. Besides, I highly doubt they could be used effectively for anything besides monitoring, capturing footage and transporting extremely small loads.

Agricultural machinery is so advanced already, I doubt drones would be used on fields and for even internal repetitive work. It is going to need a lot of programming and customizing for it to gain acceptance as a practical solution. That is still a few years away. It is already a great toy for big boys and in a controlled environment, sporting enthusiasts and nerds can have their share of fun and test these machines for future possibilities. I hope that better drones will be developed which can reach out to people in emergencies or in remote areas where help is often delayed. But knowing the traits of my species, I am afraid that sometime in the future, someone will think of a drone as a mini flying saucer and try to give their child or pet a ride in it for fun. That will surely make me wish we were back in the days of the cave man burrowing our way into the ground instead of flying upwards towards the sky.

However, good, earth friendly intentions like those of a UK based start-up called BioCarbon Engineering need to be taken into account as well. It proposes to use drones to map the topography of certain areas that are difficult for humans to access and shoot seed pods into the ground. It is definitely an innovative use of drones for reforestation, a task that could take us humans a very long time and cost us a lot of money.

Despite all the great uses we might come up with, I have a sinking feeling about drones. They are going to do more damage than any good because humans won’t stop at just using them for surveillance. Battelle Innovations, the world’s largest non-profit R&D organization has launched the “DroneDefender”, which uses radio pulses to disable hostile drones without physically blasting it. Drone strikes have killed scores of innocent people in America’s supposed fight against terrorism because of which these machines have an obnoxious reputation. Anyway, let me know if you have better ideas!