We’ve all heard of drones. Not the bee kind, but the type that, remotely controlled like your little brother’s plane, flies over long distances and attacks buildings and people.
There’s even a line of clothing that claims to disguise the wearer from drones. Stealth wear, it’s called.
Drones (and killer robots) are big these days. They’re visible. But drones are getting smaller. And smaller. Soon, very soon, several nations will have micro-drone capabilities, and attacks from the sky will be less obvious. Controlled from hundreds, thousands of miles away, a mass of new drones the size of pigeons will be able to suss out a city or building and sneak up on targets who won’t know what hit them. From the Guardian: “The only thing currently holding this stuff back is battery technology, although they’re reportedly already working on ways to let the flying deathbots leach power from electricity cables to recharge themselves mid-mission.”
You don’t think it will stop there, do you?
Miniaturization indicates that in a few years, micro-drones will be the size of cockroaches, perhaps flies.
At that point, they’ll be used for constant surveillance. For predicting where a suspect is heading, and why, for preventing attacks and crime.
Not solely overseas, silly. Here, too.
You don’t think so? Why not? Why not use technology to uncover and prevent crime?
Convicted sex offenders — who should never have been let out of prison — are currently disarming and removing the tracking devices that were to have prevented them from attacking innocent people. They’re making life hell for their new victims. One may argue whether their crimes deserve lifelong incarceration, but we cannot argue that the system of tracking devices is succeeding. It’s a horrible failure.
Suppose, though, that instead of a device attached to the ankle, each released offender knew he would be followed at all times by devices he would not be able to identify? Everywhere he went, every person he called or saw, everything he did would be filmed and taped. If he went to forbidden places, that would be seen, and he would be re-arrested. If he did anything to warrant re-arrest, it would happen. One can even imagine the tiny mechanical spies armed with spray sedatives to spritz in the offender’s face. Instant incapacity, making arrest much easier.
Think what this would do to parolees who re-offend. They would be stopped.
Parolees who kidnap and terrorize children, who rape and murder? No more.
Wait. It could get better.
If you’re a teacher, you know quite well that some of the children in your classroom are being abused by parents or other adults. Yet making a case is difficult, especially in areas with poorly trained child protection staff. If you could mention your concern, however, if micro-drones could be sent to the child’s house – they would pick up on abuse, and the child would be rescued from torture. Inflicting pain simply out of cruelty is torture.
Police vice squads could assign drones to follow people they suspect are being forced to prostitute themselves, essentially enslaved. Once they see the john or pimp, boom, sedative spray and arrest. Of the men controlling someone else’s body, not the person who has been grossly abused.
The anti-crime possibilities of the new technology are legion. People might even purchase them to protect against crime on the street. Rapes would be fewer if men knew they would be watched by drones somewhere near the person they intended to violate.
Will there be micro-drone abuse? Of course. The ACLU ought to be ratcheting up right now, insisting that law-abiding citizens be protected from intrusion.
Yet many people look law-abiding, who are not. Pillars of the community, supposedly. Quite a bit of crime, of terror, is hidden. Just look at the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal in the UK. Decades of sexual abuse and rape of children, all hidden – except that some people knew, and some suspected, and even more felt a twinge of “ewww” when they were around Savile.
How many children could have been saved from Savile and his friends, if only those adults’ crimes had come to general light? If children in pain could back up their stories of sexual abuse? If the police had photographic evidence? How many people with that pain in their past would still be alive, not dead due to suicide?
Like television, like the internet, like any new technology (even automobiles, originally considered enablers of sin because they gave courting couples license to stray off the front porch and away from chaperoning eyes), micro-drones may lead to wrongdoing.
They could also lead to putting things right, and preventing crime against innocents. They could make it impossible for a jackal to hide himself in sheep’s clothing, to masquerade as pillar of the community or caring parent or ethical human being.
Surely those are worthy aims?