Eyes in the Sky
Friday, January 13, 2012 - 12:35 PM
On this week's show, U. Nebraska journalism professor Matt Waite admits to having childlike fascination with drones. He recalls being at a conference in San Diego last summer, where a demo video for the Gatewing X100 left him positively giddy.
Matt was poised to buy the Belgian-made drone, until he found out that it cost $65,000 and was "completely illegal" in the US. (The FAA currently prohibits autonomous aircraft like the X100, which runs without remote control.) Though Matt's ended up the conference empty-handed, the experience helped inspire him to launch the Drone Journalism Lab.
Though I share Matt's fascination with drones, part of me also fears the dystopia described by Noel Sharkey and Sarah Knuckey in The Guardian : "the paranoiac nightmare of our airspace being polluted by police and personal drones with all of us watching our watchers." I guess I could learn to live with this "mutual assured destruction" scenario between The People and The Man. After all, the alternative would probably be one-way surveillance, à la Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon.
If I think about this stuff too much, it scares the heebie-jeebies out of me.
For now, I prefer to just sit back and watch some of the amazing drone journalism footage already out there. If the FAA decides to loosen restrictions, this technology could be the next big thing in American journalism.
At the Polish Independence Day Protests on November 11, 2011, taken with the six-bladed Robokopter.
Click here for AirPano's stunning still panoramas of the Russian election protests on December 10, 2011.
Damage in Alabama after a tornado swept through on April 27, 2011.