I’m beginning to think that unmanned aerial vehicles—usually referred to as drones—are going to be next year’s must-have Christmas gift after their stunning Christmas-time performance at London’s Gatwick Airport.
For those who missed the excitement, mysterious drones appeared at Gatwick last week and shut down the entire airport for three days as security officials could not be certain what threat they posed. Those officials finally deployed “unidentified military technology” to protect the airport, and they have since arrested a man and a woman, neither of whom have been identified.
We might have guessed that giving civilians access to drone technology for fun and profit would lead to problems. After all, their initial use was military for spying on enemies and then assassinating them when desired—extrajudicial killings with a Jetsons-like twist.
It is indeed fun to think about a Jetsons-like world in which our packages are delivered by friendly drones (already being pioneered by Amazon). But anyone who gets a drone next Christmas could decide to park one near your home and take pictures from a discreet distance.
An irate neighbor armed with a drone might decide to surreptitiously drop dog poop on your front steps. If the same neighbor is a little crazy, he might mount a gun on the drone and shoot you from a safe distance. How will anyone know who even shot you?
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