Does drone warfare reduce harm? Maybe not.

Proponents of drones in foreign conflicts argue that it reduces harm for civilians and U.S. military personnel alike. Here's why that might be wrong.

  • There has been a huge increase in drone usage since the war on terror. Proponents of drone warfare claim it reduces civilian casualties and collateral damage, that it's cheaper than conventional warfare tactics, and that it's safer for U.S. military personnel.
  • The data suggests those claims may be false, says scholar Abigail Blanco. Drones are, at best, about equivalent to conventional technologies, but in some cases may actually be worse.
  • Blanco explains how skewed US government definitions don't give honest data on civilian casualties. Drone operators also suffer worse psychological repercussions following a drone strike because of factors such as the intimacy of prolonged surveillance and heat-sensing technology which lets the operator observe the heat leaving a dying body to confirm a kill.
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FAA warns that illegal weaponized drones will incur a $25K fine

The FAA is not amused by flame-throwing drones.

Image source: ThrowFlame
  • Federal Aviation Administration publishes a notice warning the public not to weaponize their personal drones.
  • Doing so will result in a $25,000 fine per violation.
  • The FAA is keeping pace with the rapid development of this new and popular technology.
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The surveillance technology that will watch us all, all the time

Wide Angle Motion Imagery (WAMI) is a surveillance game-changer. And it's here.

Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images
  • In his new book, Eyes in the Sky, Arthur Holland Michel details the evolution of aerial surveillance technology.
  • Cameras aboard drones can monitor the entirety of 50 square kilometers for hours without refueling.
  • New aerial technologies will create the privacy fights of the future.
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Amazon’s 'adora-bots' are now making deliveries

The first wave of the retailer's anticipated automated delivery fleet hits the sidewalks.

Image source: Amazon
  • After testing near company HQ, delivery robots are rolling up to random customers' homes in Irvine, CA.
  • The cute little carriers — dubbed "adora-bots" — are already adept at navigating people, pets, and other tricky obstacles.
  • These may be the droids the shipping industry seeks.
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U.S. Army to deploy tiny helicopter drones in Afghanistan

The drones are nearly silent and are able to identify and track enemy soldiers.

FLIR Systems Inc.
  • The U.S. army plans to start using the tiny, helicopter-like drones sometime this month in Afghanistan.
  • The drones are manufactured in the U.S. and would be used for surveillance.
  • Drones are becoming more affordable and accessible, which presents unprecedented threats.
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