Amanda Ripley

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Playing Defense Against the Drones

16th Oct 2015 posted in General

Small, off-the-shelf drones have gotten much better, cheaper and easier to use in the past couple of years. About a million are in circulation worldwide right now; that number could double over the next year.

So what will our lives be like once drones are everywhere? That is the most captivating question about drones, in my opinion—much more interesting than the many gee-whiz stories published about the technology itself.

But speculating about that future is not very interesting; the usual narratives tend toward utopia or apocalypse, neither of which seems likely.

So I decided to spend some time with people who already live in the future. These are people who do not typically hang out together but who have been reckoning with nonmilitary drones in their everyday work. They include security experts, a celebrity-wedding planner, an animal-rights activist and a couple of prison wardens.

I learned a lot from their stories. For one thing, psychology matters as much as technology. There is some comfort in that. I also came to appreciate the usefulness of nets. Large nets, small nets, all kinds of nets.

Things are about to get weird, in other words. Check out the full Atlantic article here.