Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Modest Proposal: The future of Drones

Drones are here to stay, so I've been told, so it's high time I became part of the process in determining what our drone-filled future will look like. It seems foolish to me to imagine that they will not be used for violence - law enforcement springs to mind - so I've also accepted that. But I think if they are going to be used for violence, there should be  noble final goal in mind, and I don't trust the police to do this consistently.

I would like to propose a way to use weaponized drones to curb noise pollution in cities. Picture this - explosive drones hovering 10 meters above city streets, patrolling randomly. As someone honks their horn, the drone triangulates the location of the horn and approaches it at a constant rate. When the horn stops honking, the drone returns to its hovering altitude. Perhaps it takes 5 seconds of constant honking for it to reach street level, at which point it latches onto and detonates the honking car in such a way as to only harm the driver. As a side benefit, these drones would need to be regularly serviced, and occasionally replaced, so I do believe this would have a net positive effect on job creation.

Honking to express your disapproval of another driver's actions would still be allowed, but prolonged honking long past its utility would be swifltly eradicated. Traffic jams in which everyone attempts to solve the issue by honking would become deadly games of chance in which the risk of honking far outweighs the potential benefit of... actually, there's no benefit of honking in traffic jams. Everyone hates you when you do that, and it solves nothing, so it really becomes a more exciting game of hot potato.

Perhaps this seems like an over-reaction, but I guarantee that unnecessary honking would decrease rapidly within days of this programs implementation. Of course, the drones would need to learn to recognize car alarms and sirens so that it does not hit unintended consequences, but that could be easily programmed.

Better still, as surveillance technologies such as microphones, high definition cameras, and AI that can monitor and react to situations without human oversight improve, this technology could rapidly be expanded to other behaviors that need curbing, such as smoking in public, clipping your fingernails on public transportation, or talking during movies. So please, write your mayors now, and inform them that you think this is a great idea, and with luck, our own government will implement it soon. If not, don't worry - this technology may soon be available at your local Walmart!

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