Amar Toor for The Verge:
A startup that uses drones to deliver medicine and blood to remote areas of Rwanda is launching a similar program in the US. California-based Zipline will bring its drone delivery program to rural and remote communities in Maryland, Nevada, and Washington, including some Native American reservations. Zipline will announce its expansion at a White House workshop on unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) Tuesday morning.
Drone strikes as told by those who live where they occur in a documentary called Wounds of Waziristan.
For journalist Madiha Tahir, the numbers are important, but they’re not the whole story. Her documentary “Wounds of Waziristan,” which premieres above, features interviews with the people who live in the southern part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, bordering Afghanistan, under the eyes of the drones, and in the wake of their destruction.
Vice has more.
Dyson challenged its engineers to build machines that can fly and go through obstacles. Only Dyson-manufactured parts were allowed.
What disturbs me is the idea that a book about the moral hazard of military technologies should be written as if it was going to be read by robots: input decision procedure, output decision and correlated action. I know that effective military operations have traditionally been based on the chain of command and that this looks a little like the command and control structure of robots. When someone is shooting at you, I can only imagine that you need to follow orders mechanically. The heat of battle is neither the time nor the place for cool ethical reflection.
Warfare, unlike philosophy, could never be conducted from an armchair. Until now. For the first time in history, some soldiers have this in common with philosophers: they can do their jobs sitting down. They now have what I’ve always enjoyed, namely “leisure,” in the Hobbesian sense of the word, meaning they are not constantly afraid of being killed.
A new study led by the United States’ Defense Department found that pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles, drones, experienced PTSD, depression and anxiety as much as pilots who are actually “over there”.
“Remotely piloted aircraft pilots may stare at the same piece of ground for days,” said Jean Lin Otto, an epidemiologist who was a co-author of the study. “They witness the carnage. Manned aircraft pilots don’t do that. They get out of there as soon as possible.”
Dr. Otto said she had begun the study expecting that drone pilots would actually have a higher rate of mental health problems because of the unique pressures of their job.
Since 2008, the number of pilots of remotely piloted aircraft — the Air Force’s preferred term for drones — has grown fourfold, to nearly 1,300. The Air Force is now training more pilots for its drones than for its fighter jets and bombers combined. And by 2015, it expects to have more drone pilots than bomber pilots, although fighter pilots will remain a larger group.
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” – even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
The memo can be found here.
What about a drone delivery service that could easily replace any country’s postal service, and Fedex?
Here’s a simplified version of what I’m talking about:
1. I put package onto a landing pad at my home.
2. Drone arrives, takes package and flies away.
3. Drone delivers package to landing pad at delivery location.
There’s almost nothing technically in the way of this happening right now.
Here’s how it would work in practice:
My brother left his iphone at my house. I want to get it to him, but he lives 30 mi away (as the crow flies, 50 by driving).
I put it into a delivery container and put it on a small landing pad outside my home.
I order a drone on my phone and put the ID of the container into the order (I could just as easily use a drone I buy to do it P2P).
A drone arrives 10 minutes later, picks up the container automatically.
After a couple of hops, it arrives at my brother’s landing pad, where it drops off the container and alerts him with an e-mail/text.
Costs? Probably less than $0.25 per 10 mi. or so. So, about $0.75 in this instance. Time? An hour or so.