The very look of a commercial drone suggests toy, tool, and pest. We cyborgs are as curious about the machine’s various utilities as we are reluctant to fill up our precious air space with little helpers.
Sure, these unmanned aerial vehicles (what an unsexy phrase!) could potentially deliver supplies to our homes, identify hotspots on trees in danger of erupting into flames, examine the scene of an emergency, provide internet connectivity to remote areas, and, perhaps down the line, walk our dogs for us.
But we cyborgs have also calculated that a slow roll-out is best for these flyers, as they require a slew of parts, many of them external, to work as they’re intended to: pilots (that’s us), batteries (which don’t last for much more than an hour), GPS signal (a lost drone is a sad drone), government waivers (the more forms, the better), and so on.
With all of these factors in play, we must be careful. If there’s anything cartoons have uploaded into our individual databases, it’s that the last thing we want is something to fall on our heads when we least expect it.
There’s also that hang-up about data related to our … oh, what is it called … privacy. Drones can take pictures and videos of us from above.
Admittedly, our fear of drones doesn’t outweigh our fear of COVID-19. If you live in certain places in China, Spain, Kuwait, the U.K., or even the U.S. of A., you might one day decide to take a walk because you’re about to go haywire staying inside all the time, and if you happen upon a particularly crowded public area, you might hear a recorded voice in the sky, proclaiming: “Please maintain social distancing, please disperse, please go back home, please, let’s beat COVID-19, thank you for your cooperation. Don’t make us come for you, boys and girls.”
That last part will be more implied than outright stated. Today, we are merely in the “public service announcement” era of drone messages delivered via loudspeakers. But give us another global health and safety crisis within the next decade, and we could enter the “reading you your rights” era of drone messages delivered via loudspeakers.
Until that exciting day, many of us can enter a nearby mall and find a fellow cyborg—who’s usually in the middle of the main walking path, perhaps trying to attract our attention as we envision what new brands we want to advertise on our clothes—who can sell us a toy version of the drone that we can take to the park on a Saturday afternoon.
The drone can be a kite that doesn’t need wind, a firefighter’s best friend, or a war enemy’s undignified end. The drone is the ultimate wild card, so it’s here to stay.
A Hundred Cyborgs, #85 by Jed Pressgrove, a part of All-Comers April.
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