A controversial topic in the world of tech at the moment is the use of drones; between Amazon’s Prime Air project, which uses drones for delivery, raising many people’s doubts on how safe they are flying over us; and the UN’s recent ban on drones being used by the military as a replacement for soldiers on the battlefield, the newly popularised inventions are causing controversy around the globe.
Firstly, the Amazon Prime Air safety topic. Amazon’s biggest project yet, they are planning to allow the customer an option to replace the standard delivery service with a ‘Prime Air Delivery’ where a drone will fly straight to your doorstep with the package in under 30 minutes, assuming you’re within 16km of an Amazon warehouse (sorry, Guernsey won’t be getting any for a while). But many people are worried about their safety with drones travelling at high speeds above them, what if one malfunctions and falls onto a person? Amazon assures us that the drones are designed with this in mind, and their drones will not be falling out the sky; but remember, they had to convince the US government to change several laws so that the service would be legal.
Next is the military drones debate; on paper, replacing the soldiers in a war with machines sounds like an amazing idea that would save thousands of lives. But it is not as simple as that, drones will fulfil the order they are programmed to perform, whatever it is, so if they are programmed to attack the enemy, they will attack the enemy without taking anything else into consideration, it will not retreat, it will not change tactics, it will not show mercy, it will not halt fire when the enemies surrender, it will not understand the difference between the enemies and innocents. The list of reasons why it is not a good idea is massive. Whilst engineers estimate that military drones will be capable of making this kind of judgement in 20-30 years, but until then; we must decide for ourselves whether risking the lives of soldiers that can make crucial quick judgements, is more valuable than risking drones that will not.