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On the Record

Rise of the Machines: Drones as the Next Game-changer

Peter W. Singer

Editor’s Note: In a video interview with ABC News, Peter Singer talks about the future of military technology and the impact drones will have on our defense strategy and civil liberties.

Bormann: But with the swarm building, who will keep order in the skies? The Federal Aviation Administration has the job of making America’s drone age a reality. Leading robotics expert Dr Peter Singer, reckons the regulators are way behind reality.

Peter Singer: Congress though has said 2015, FAA figure it out. Figure out how to allow all this to happen. The problem is the FAA is an agency that essentially deals with the airspace management. It’s thinking about things like how do we make sure these micro drones don’t crash into other planes – but that misses all sorts of the other political legal ethical issues that play out with this. Everything from how do we ensure rights of privacy to what way should the police be allowed to use them? What way should they not be allowed to use them? To how do we keep bad actors from utilising these technologies?

[…]

Bormann: The drones are taking off, the question is do we have the ability to harness a technology now evolving at phenomenal speed. Can society keep up?

Singer: Moore’s law is the idea that our technology, particularly our microchips has doubled in its power capacity just about every 18 months or so. Moore’s law though doesn’t stop. If Moore’s law holds true, the way it’s held true over the last forty years, within twenty five years our technologies will be a billion times more powerful than they are today.

Read the full transcript and watch the video »

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