We need the money, so the state government is pressing to position Indiana as a drone-friendly place, even hiring a Director of Unmanned Systems, an ex-military intel guy who glurges, "We are not...spying on people or anything like that..." Nope, he wants to "...get into the civilian applications because there's going to be so many of them that we haven't even thought of yet." Other than spying on people and possibly blowing them up? Name three. Name three you can't do better/faster/cheaper from orbit, using what's already up there.
Hey, somebody's got to murder bystanders by remote control, why not refine the process right here?
Sometimes living in the future sucks. One of the darker aspects of the short-lived Fox series Dark Angel (pretty good and gritty post-apocalyptic SF, before it wandered off into silliness in the second season) was the hovering presence of "police drones," small, quiet UAVs that spied on the struggling after-the-Pulse population, a nasty, nagging, over-the-shoulder presence no one could avoid. Do we really want to live like that?
On the other hand, Indiana could use the jobs, and is a police drone really any worse than police patrolling in a car? --In a way, it is; the drone operator, safely back at the control point, can never interact face-to-face; literally alienated, his surveillance choices and (if available) use of force may be drastically different.
And on the other other hand, military uses of drones will probably remain the most common, especially in the near term. Parts of Indiana are already routinely bombed (portions of Camp Atterbury) and/or shot (the former Jefferson Proving Ground, among others). Getting droned would probably be an improvement.
"Death by remote control" doesn't sit well with me and hovering robot spies are scarcely more comfortable. NSA and NRO have been able to read my license plate from orbit since before I even owned anything that had license plate; is a closer view of what's already in plain sight somehow worse?
4 months ago