Ever wonder if you’ve been spied on by a surveillance drone? Maybe
it looked like a hummingbird. Or an insect. Or, maybe it was just really
high up. Maybe there's one looking in your window right now, and if so,
there's no law that says it shouldn't.
In a recent article in the Stanford Law Review, Ryan Calo discusses
how domestic surveillance drones would fit into the current legal
definitions of privacy (and violations thereof), and how these issues could
have the potential to fundamentally degrade privacy to such an extent
that they could serve as a catalyst for reform.
Domestic surveillance robots aren't as much of an issue now as they
could be, thanks mostly to the stick-in-the-muddedness of the FAA that
keeps unmanned aircraft from doing anything exciting. Eventually, though,
that's going to change, and there are already precedents (legal ones) for
how domestic agencies might (read: will) start using robots. Basically,
there seems to be essentially no legal restrictions which would prevent
the police from having drones flying around all the time, watching people.
Clearly, this is something that we as a society should discuss, and we may decide this kind of surveillance should be illegal
or at least restricted to some extent — especially since it's getting easier and easier to build or buy camera-capable flying
robots. In the near future, celebrities will be constantly surrounded by a swarm of face-reading, photo-snapping autonomous
robots that will necessitate the development of anti-surveillance drone drones, loaded up with little miniature air-to-air missiles
(which themselves are little flying robots).
Of course, all this goes beyond surveillance and drones. We've got these same sorts of legal issues popping up all over the
place with regard to robotics, as technology fast outpaces the limited amount of foresight that was employed when coming up
with policies meant to manage current technological issues as opposed to future ones. There's a risk that reactionary (as
opposed to proactive) policies could seriously undermine the robotics industry which is why forethought is so important. Be
sure to look up and read the rest of Ryan Calo's article,"The Drone as Privacy Catalyst."
A group of experts who come from Sydney University have created a robot
that is being used to test troops who may run into terrorists. Sent to a Marine
base in Virginia's Quantico, the Marathon Targets are trained to "think" and
because they are autonomous, flee as fast as a human if one of their group is shot.
They even have enough smarts to seek shelter.
The company received a $57 million contract with the USMC after showing
its lifelike armored-plated T2 prototype. They also have another Terrorbot with
four wheels for use in rough terrain.
(NOT) ANGRY BIRDS
RobotGrrl has new totally DIY-able interactive robotic birds called
RoboBrrds. If you've always wanted to throw yourself bodily into the
world of Arduino-powered DIY robotics, this is a great way to go.
You can build your very own RoboBrrd. It'll take about a week's
worth of on-and-off work and you'll likely need to order some
electronics, and if you don't know how to solder, well, here's a great
excuse to learn!
Once you get your very own RoboBrrd up and running (or even if
you don't), you can share it with the world (or at least with fellow
robotics geeks) every Thursday night at 8 pm EST through a Google+
video hangout. You should also remember that RobotGrrl is doing all of
this out of the goodness of her (robotic?) heart, and there's a handy little “donate” button on her website ( robotgrrl.com)
should you wish to help inspire future generations of roboticists.
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