Today we live in a world where technology is very resourceful. More specifically, we can program technology to do things for us and limit human activity. The downside to many technologies, is that humans have to program the technologies in order for them to perform the various and duties that they were built to do. Many researches and developers are taking steps to make these technologies autonomous, meaning that they do not rely on human programming to tell them what to do. Although not autonomous, Researchers have worked towards constructing semi-autonomous technologies, in the hope of one day creating a fully autonomous piece of technology that is fully independent.
One very useful piece of technology that is increasingly being integrated into society are drones. Drones can be used for various tasks. They can be used commercially for simple means of photography/video and even militarily for various inspection and surveillance duties. The downside to many of these drones is that they need human operators in order to take flight. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology inZurich have developed a drone unlike many of its predecessors, in that it has a “sense of its own.” Zurich’s drone can actually build a 3D map of any environment with in depth images to “plan the most direct route possible to any target destination.” Zurich team drone uses, “a small quadrotor that weighs 1.6 kilograms, the AsTec Firefly, and [is] equipped with a stereo camera and sensors that report velocity, orientation, and gravitational forces.”
I believe that there many benefits and disadvantages to this new semi-autonomous drone. Imagine how the drone can benefit the military. Military operations like search and rescue missions could be much more successful. With the Drones 3D mapping capability, a prisoner of war or a soldier missing in action could be found in very a short time. With the Drones data, it could map the quickest way for a group of soldiers to rescue a Prisoner of War or a soldier missing in action. On the other hand, imagine what this drone could do if it were hacked. The 3D mapping technology could be used by criminals and terrorists and assist them in planning things like robberies, home invasions or on a grander scale, terroristic attacks.
I think that before researches take more and more steps towards making machines fully autonomous, they need to weight the benefits and disadvantages of the autonomous drone. If they were to make the drone autonomous, it should be embedded with an advanced security system, so that it can be used by whom ever needs to use it for significant reasons, such as the military. In saying this, I would go so far as to say that this autonomous drone, if it is ever constructed, should only be used by governmental organizations and not commercially. If an autonomous drone is sold to the public, how easy would it be for someone like me to use its advanced technology for mischievous reasons.