Trailer for upcoming documentary on drones

What techniques do you think we’ll develop to keep drones out of stadiums and other pricey sports events? Will there be bootleg Olympics broadcasters the way there used to be pirate radio stations? How do you run security checkpoints when you can simultaneously fly hundreds of twenty-dollar drones carrying dirty bomb material over the walls at an infinite number of weak points?

Gattaca is coming and you should be worried

Photo by University of Michigan School of Nursing, used under a Creative Commons Licence

Hey , Americans. Did you know H.R.1313 – Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act has gone to your Committee of Ways and Means? Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Who wouldn’t support Employee Wellness?

If passed, HR1313 will overturn the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) George W Bush signed in 2008.

GINA means “it is against the law for your employer to use family health history and genetic test results in making decisions about your employment.”

If HR1313 passes it will now be legal for “workplace wellness programs to ask employees questions about genetic tests taken by themselves or their families, and to make inquiries about the medical history of employees, their spouses, their children, and other family members” and that if you refuse you will face a financial penalty “of up to 30 percent of the total cost of an employee’s health insurance.”

This raises the spectre of next being required to submit this information right at the hiring process. Imagine getting turned down for a job because your grandfather has Parkinsons, therefore making you a potential liability in twenty years. Or because your spouse is a carrier for sickle cell disease. Or being fired because your baby has long QT syndrome.

This shouldn’t be a thing. Knowledge is power, people.

I for one will not be welcoming our robot overlords

If you haven’t been following what Boston Dynamics is up to lately, it’s time to get shivers down your spine.

TLDR: Skip to 3:41 for wheeled action

Boston Dynamics’ early products were designed in a research partnership with DARPA, aka the US Department of Defence. Google X currently owns them, although they are looking to sell: mainly because developing machine AI is a harder task than software AI, takes longer, and offers a much longer lead time before producing profitable enterprises. While Boston Dynamics’ robots move realistically, they still can’t think for themselves. In all those shots of robots walking around forests and deserts a human is guiding them by radio control.

Guess who has the money for long-term investment?

I’d like to think these guys evolve to delivering pizza and  safeguarding kids at the playground, but the realistic part of me knows this technology will inescapably end up with military and policing capabilities (these two are increasingly the same).

How about we combine Boston Dynamics tech with these transparent gel robots from MIT.

Big can be avoided. Big can be managed. What’s really fucking scary is miniaturization.

So, you’re invading a country. Maybe you’re after some dwindling natural resources.  Drop ten thousand transparent, waterproof, gel-like robots in the waters of the harbor. Another ten thousand in ponds and lakes. At beach resorts. Program them to pull under and drown any human not wearing the right transmitter.

Follow up with ten thousand of these self-organizing suckers on land.

Arm them with poison. Or tiny tiny scalpels. Or explosives. Just enough to really terrify the populace, disrupt everyday life, and reduce resistance.

Sure, they need to follow a projector’s instructions. For now.

Forget military uses. How about you just deploy them in a city, listening to and recording conversations and digital communications to identify undocumented immigrants. They’re small. They could be anywhere. Hey, disguise them as discarded coke cans. Or Starbucks cups. Better check under the bed at night.

This tech will develop faster than we think. We’re not ready for the consequences of what we can do. Drones and missiles will be the least of our worries.