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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

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Chanson de Roland

Gee, robot aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), equipped with advanced surveillance technology and/or weapons that would be, at least for the surveillance technologies, in the hands of the government and private parties, and for the government, the UAVs may well be equipped with weapons.

What could go wrong? Perhaps misidentifying three guys in a car, resulting in taking out three family men, who NSA misidentified as terrorists? The scope for tragic folly, invasions of privacy, and/or tyranny are limited only by the imagination, and the technology. And against those prospective but nearly certain harms, we weigh the benefits of improved transportation, more effective law enforcement, greater safe and rescue, etc.

It seems that it will all come down to how well we regulate UAVs to reap the benefits, while preventing the harms. However, that this task falls to the U.S. Congress, the President, the courts, and c-suite managers leaves me, at least, very doubtful that UAVs won't prove to be on net harmful, if not tragic.

How would Orwell rewrite 1984 to reflect the latest and foreseeable technology?

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