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Drones to Defend Tampa from Anarchists August 24, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Technology.
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The wheeled robots, appropriately called Wraiths, can carry lethal and less-lethal weapons as well as cameras. United Drones engineer Curt Winter claims the Wraiths are “fully autonomous.” Score one for progress. We’re not far from the following:

May force be with you, comrades. Death to the Empire’s machines.

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1. Dale Carrico - August 27, 2012

I think it is important to critique these drones for what they actually are and what they actually do and under what legal terms they are actually being rationalized. I do not agree that anything is added to this necessary critique when they are treated as stepping stones along the road to actualizing popular science fiction settings. This is much the same mistake made by techno-utopians who assess the costs, risks, and benefits of a particular technoscientific change (a medical discovery that may bear fruit as a therapy one day, the synthesis of a new material that may feasibly lower the costs or improve the performance of certain artifacts eventually) less in terms of its actual impacts on stakeholders with diverse and specifiable/ied wants but in terms of the contribution that change is imagined to manifest in the way of some parochial “destiny” or narrative of “progress.” I do agree that science fiction literature at its best — like so much of literature at its best — provides an odd angle of view of the present that allows us to judge it differently, more critically, more capaciously, and so the imperial probe droid on Hoth or the interrogation robot on the Death Star resonated because of their mobilization of deep and present fears and phobias, but that has nothing to do with some kind of prophetic accuracy. Understanding is much less like making predictions and making bets that prevailing modes of neoliberal and neoconservative and futurological think-tank “thinking” practices would have us pretend for their profit.

Summerspeaker - September 3, 2012

Fair enough, but I sure as hell wasn’t invoking Star Wars for prophetic accuracy. Even if predictive science fiction exists, Star Wars ain’t it.


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