What others are saying online about unmanned aerial vehicles.


Farhad Manjoo, The Wall Street Journal: "Unmanned aerial vehicles get a bad rap. They've become associated with surveillance and militarism, and most rational discussions of the technology are hijacked by fears of the imminent robotic takeover of our skies. While these are justified concerns, I fear they've gotten out of hand. Too often, we worry solely about the worst possibilities of drones, without considering their substantial promise to improve much of the world around us. Long before they'll fly into our backyards with soap, we may see squads of them delivering medicine in developing countries, coordinating emergency relief after disasters, and monitoring crops to improve how we grow food. Are these and other potential applications worth considering, despite the risks of illegal surveillance or even more terrible uses of UAVs? We ought to have that conversation."

OUR VIEW: Domestic drones move faster than FAA

Daniel Suarez, CNN: "We'll see the good, the bad and the just plain ugly well before regulations are more widely adopted. That might sound messy, but this is how an open society should ingest revolutionary technologies — by arguing like hell about them. And make no mistake, there will be a constituency speaking on behalf of drones. That's because in the next three years, civilian drones — that is unmanned aerial systems — could be a $10 billion industry (with part of that presumably spent on public relations). And on both sides of this struggle, the first combatants will be legions of lawyers arguing drone law and establishing legal precedents in local, state and federal courts. … It will take the passionate debate of civil rights activists, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, aerospace engineers, farmers, environmentalists, ethicists and many more for society to arrive at a stable legal framework to safely and equitably integrate robotic aviation and autonomous vehicles into our society. ... These are thorny issues. For every privacy activist I agree with on the subject of drones, there is also someone with a compelling vision of how they could be used for good."

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times: "So if (drones) can't land on my head, why do they make my head hurt? Maybe because they are redolent of President Obama's unhealthy attachment to lethal drones, which are killing too many innocents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and our spy agencies' unhealthy attachment to indiscriminate surveillance. ... Or maybe I am leery that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is also dabbling in space tourism, was looking for a Cyber Monday public relations coup by playing to Americans' ranker instincts, hooking our instant gratification society on ever more instant gratification. Do we really need that argyle sweater plopped in our hands in half an hour as opposed to the next day? What would Pope Francis say? And won't all the other alpha moguls want their own drone fleets?"

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