Disaster Drone Smog

Following the horrible explosion and collapse in New York City, Brian Wilson and his private drone achieved some fame by flying about while the rescue crews were at work. The Daily Beast has a very interesting, in-depth interview with Wilson about his action and motives. In Robot Futures I talk about Robot Smog as a portmanteau that may describe a future in which physical robots pervade our physical world with some measure of chaos. There is no question that robotics will eventually have very important roles in rescue operations generally; but the path from here to there, absent sensible legal frameworks, is strewn with drone smog. And apparently the smog will form in the most prosaic circumstances, like your walk in the park, and in the most singular, like a major building collapse in Harlem.  We will see many more polarizing examples of smog, and as innovation continues to accelerate, I am not convinced we can create legal and cultural boundaries quickly enough to keep up with a moving target of invention and boundary-testing.

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