When drones invade Christmas

When drones invade Christmas

Christmas morning could be filled with regulatory concerns and overhead danger

Drone being flown (Shutterstock)

Drone being flown (Shutterstock)

Faddish Christmas gifts have been known to trigger negative reactions even as they light up our holidays. More than a few Tickle Me Elmos achieved flight in the late 1990s, for example, after that adorable giggle caused harried parents to heave the fuzzy fellow across rooms and out of windows. Still, as annoying as he could be, Elmo couldn’t fly under his own power. So unlike one of 2015’s hottest gifts, he never required government regulation banning him from parks, schoolyards or the vicinities of active airstrips.

You’d be hard pressed, in fact, to think of a present that’s taken us as deep into uncharted legal and social territory as the remote-control drone. Even as parents feverishly comb store websites for the last available DJI Phantom 3s, federal bureaucrats and municipal lawyers were scrambling to assemble rules to manage the new craze, which has gripped everyone from professional photographers to eight-year-olds hoping to find hand-sized quadrotors under the tree come Christmas morning.

Richmond, B.C., and Saskatoon count among the cities that have full or partial bans on drones in local parks. Toronto city council is waiting for a report on the issue before deciding what to do, while Transport Canada is contemplating a raft of changes to aviation laws it hopes will balance safety concerns with a thriving new industry that has sprung up around what it refers to as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). “Exponential growth” in the market, it noted last May in its proposed amendments, “has created a growing community of novice pilots who might not be aware of the requirements when flying a UAV, and may not have the requisite knowledge to operate a UAV safely.” As things stand, the feds define remote-control drones weighing less than 35 kg—that is, the vast majority of consumer drones—to be model aircraft subject to few regulatory controls.

The undercurrent of anxiety is understandable, because few gifts have achieved the sort of lift-off that drones have in the past five years. One U.S. marketing firm estimated that 4.3 million so-called consumer drones would be sold worldwide in 2015, pushing sales past $2 billion. That’s a 167 per cent increase over last year’s total, and presages a Christmas morning thick with whirring, battery-powered aircraft in many a Western household. Canada-only figures are hard to come by, but all signs suggest we’re a drone-happy nation. Firms like Borgfeldt Canada Ltd., the Markham, Ont., maker of the popular LiteHawk quadrotor series, were going all out to supply major retailers such as Best Buy and the Source, whose outlets were having trouble keeping some models in stock. “The rate of sale is beyond what the shops had anticipated,” said an ebullient Merle Tubman, vice-president of Borgfeldt. “We’ve had more than three times the business of our previous year.”

Tubman chalks up much of the growth to the male penchant for gadgetry—70 per cent of his company’s sales are to men over 20, he said. Yet the passion for drones covers many market segments. The most popular LiteHawk, the Quattro Snap, retails for less than $100, carries a digital video camera and is recommended for anyone over 10. Top-end drones like the DJI Inspire I, meanwhile, sell for as much as $5,000, and come with gimbal-mounted cameras and GPS navigation systems. Though commercially available, they are tailored to professional operators.

Suffice to say, with so many different UAVs descending on an unprepared public, there was bound to be trouble. Last week in Stourport-on-Severn, England, an 18-month-old boy lost his left eye when a drone belonging to a family friend went out of control, stabbing the youngster in the face with one of its propellers. U.S. Secret Service agents were alarmed last winter after a small quadrotor crashed on the White House lawn in Washington, an incident that highlighted both the security and privacy concerns posed by the devices.

Most unsettling of all are the dangers that drones pose to air traffic. There have been three reports of drones flying around Vancouver International Airport, creating a menace to passenger planes, while water bombers fighting forest fires in B.C. last summer were forced several times to peel off due to the presence of drones photographing the flames. Since 2010, Transport Canada has investigated 115 incidents involving UAVs, issuing 13 fines in the past year alone. “If we find operators aren’t aware of the rules, we will educate them about the risks and their responsibilities and take appropriate enforcement action,” said spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier. “Law enforcement may also investigate if other laws were broken.”

Still, the feds also seem keen to avoid introducing rules they can’t enforce. Under proposed amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations, Ottawa wouldn’t require operations certificates for recreational users of UAV weighing fewer than 25 kg, while UAVs weighing fewer than two kilograms (or 4.4 lb.) are already exempt from certification provisions. All drones operating in urban areas could face new restrictions, but no one seems certain what those rules should say. “The technology has advanced in leaps and bounds,” says Max Perez, chief instructor of 905 Squadron, a model aircraft club in Aurora, Ont., that welcomes drone enthusiasts. “This is just too new for us to say what the public’s reaction is going to be.”

All of which leaves the onus on owners to behave responsibly, knowing the stakes raised by this particular trend are a whole lot higher than those of bygone Christmas fads. Any more serious screw-ups, and the reaction to Elmo could look mild by comparison.



When drones invade Christmas

  1. I’ve opted to have this conversation now instead of in two years when I’d have solutions. For instance, emitting too may GHGs using future chemical engineering in the aftermath of a catalcysm, necessitates keeping fighter jets safe in copper bunkers (WartHogs not F-35s), but UAVs made for such purpose might be made with diamond computers that lead to AI: the answer isn’t to panic. COTEofF 2050 (next is 2100):
    When the world is able to make WMDs out of any matter that has carbon it will be necessary to annihilate the freedoms of anyone whi isn’t 100% mentally healthy and humanitarian as well. When the world is in danger of nothing other than a fruitcake destroying it, it is the end of all kinds of dogmatic thinking. It will be necessary to educate the parents of mentally ill children a little bit better than right now, but mostly the education system looking out for any mental illness as well as anger mgmt issues even though anger mgmt is not an issue that is important to worry about for adults it will lead to mental illnesses if untreated in childhood that will lead us to elect an inferior Prez who is able to actually accelerate the end of the world just by lobbying his own upbringing to be perpetuated.
    And it will be impossible to resist the urge to elect him for another term when he or she enables a type of technology that is able to give humans immortality via AI. Immortality will be the offshoot of any real AI programme with a leader of the world who wants to actually personally live forever. The ******* will be wanting it more than anyone else because he will be able to control who is living forever and it will be a tyranny in the USA and it will be my country that is at risk of being another tyranny and it will be me the enemy of both gvmts and I will be assassinated by NORAD in the future because NORAD will have control over the airspace where biologically-mimicked sensor drones will be operating all over the continent and Iwill be unable to even endure a missile platform invented in oone or so decades that is able to annihilate human privacy with a DMA sensor as well as a biometric implant and also a new type of chemical weapon that is being used by AL Qaeda to keep troops without fatigue even though they claim to be religiously motivated they are really just addicts. When that sensor implanted in me (drugs me illegally to facilitate outlawed contact) detects me interfering with the gvmt plans of immortality control it will be easy to use missiles to annihiate my defensive perimater unless I am underground enough and then they give me a taste of a type of weapon that burrows undergorund and it attacks a bomb shelter. And it will be able to annihilate my cavern defenses using a type of weapon invented by the USA military establishment meant to attack WMD labs with radiation that disables electronics. If I am able to disable the burrowing snake it will be easy to justify a SWAT Team this is robotic on the grounds of a National Security risk. And I will have a plan that relies on my own EMP detonation and it be grounds for attacking me with an Atom Bomb and I will be killed. Even if I destroy them in retaliation it will be WWIII…when I am able to win I will be more than likely attacked pre-emptively and it will be WWI or WWII or WWIII a conflict and I will be demonized and history will repeat itself without my resistance to a tyranny as bad as Nazi Germany. But they never had the weapons at all a WMD would be built by Al Qaeda able to defeat the immune systems of every one but those Al Qaeda chooses to give the vaccine to. That is why they wanted to wait two years instead of now; it is so easily to react timidly enough. You have to be brave and smart to submit your will to a way of thinking that is even foreign to my hometown in the best moments of history over the last 100 or so years. It will require a way of analyzing the entire military command structure from the atoms upwards to the CNS as well as from Prez down to who is eligible to participate in democratic voting over the composition of the command personnel. It will be a nerd who is optimally the President: a man like the current commander of the military and without any mental illnesses. This requires a vote of who should be president based on merit and not any other factors even democratic ones. The vote should be weighted by merit-based voter responsibility assessments.

    • In 100 yrs a leader will emerge with the ability to defeat alot of nuclear weapons. And we will wonder why we did not prevent the nation from being moronic enough to elect a man who was an NDPer to Office as well as Communism in the Asian realm and a PResident who was meek enough not to attack him when they had a chance to win the entire war with a nuclear bomb before he gained the ability to annihilate weaponry that is vulnerable to an attack pre-emptively with nothing but underground bunkers and a stockpile of food and water. And all he will do is pus ha button that annihilates all the surface air that is breathable for about a yr and he will be able to emerge and there will be only a few thousand humans alive other than his own army and I will be annihilated by age-related illnesses more than likely. And most people will be unable to even know how to resist because they will have not been expecting the air to be poisoned. And then it will be our worst nightmare when Nadina’s world annihilates the whole MWG yet again. Us moronic humans have annoyed them a lot of the world-lines we don’t make Contact enough to stop building WMDs as well as dangerous infrastructures that can overwhelm human defenses as well as natural processes that keep our biosphere running and it will be possible to even annihilate Earth with nothing more than onbe single bacterium if there is no way to sensor for it and then nuke the area it is found in and hope you got it. You will know within a few days later whether or not the human race is about to be hit by a weapon the size of a Galaxy for putting a tyranny in charge of 2100 infrastructures with a 1000BC social networking system of gvmt: goodbye humanity and anyone else in the MWG. Starting over in another galaxy is easier than watching a giant hole make it obvious there are powerful aliens out there who might declare war and accelerate the very destruction they want to avoid. That is why no rearrangement of light and matter is allowed after around 200 yrs of extrapolated human progress whether or not it is our Solar System we cannot block the Sun’s solar rays from reaching a world that might be nearby.

      When we make insects that reproduce fast enough to be annihilating the biosphere it will bw the end of humanity without any way to annihilate their food source which is any artificial microbe that also reproduces fast enough to supply the insects and if there are natural food sources they will be annihilated including our crop supply as well as any other ecosystem from when before biotechnology annihilated Earth. And if birds are GMO-ed it will be the end of humanity by a pandemic from flocks of birds that fall from the sky like in the movie The Pelican Brief.
      That is how to get rid of them. Using an A-Bomb is extreme but how aobut Napalming the whole nesting site of a GMO-ed as well as all the nautral ones to prevent any further GMO-ing? If we didn’t get the 1st GMO bird attempt we are well behind where we need to be to get the 2nd one more than likely. And the 3rd and 4th one as well as the 5th and 6th attempt to Bird Flu the human race. Birds would mutate new viruses very quickly and it would be not possible to wran birds to not breed like rabbits if they were mutating as well as being eaten by bigger birds. It is time to consider annihilating all birds that aren’t in zoos as big as the country of… Flamingoland. Even bird pets are dangerous. It means you need a thin-enough-you-don’t-notice-it space suit to visit a bird zoo (redeploying corn subsidies to protein plant food sources looks kosher I’m eating fish instead of chicken). If it matters the birds will be harassing your other favourite animal species.
      We will be able to prevent pandmeics from being able to be made only when the world is a little bit better at surveillence and a lot better at a more rational CandC structure. Otherwise the leadership will be unable to even respond to a hurricane let alone a spreading pathogen.
      In 100 yrs AI will be annihilating humanity as long as democracy is the form of gvmt in major nations. If you make the leadership dependant on the characteristics that are pop culture, pop culture will use gvmt to make an AI to make life extension possible except it will be even able to reason about its own annihilation and the race will be an obstacle to the AI living forever and humanity will be at war with a faster and more durable enemy and also an alien intelligence with a weapon the size of…
      They think Americans will only be able to lead if they choose leadership that is able to read rather than lobby for inbred people to be even (temporarily) more powerful. That is why Canada should consider war on the USA if the USA starts an AI programme (2120 post will be AI vs humanity war mostly).

      • In order to prevent AI, I been made to converse with a future not-real leader and NSA head of a world-line where WWI didn’t start until 1930 and the Nazis rule. Yesterday’s Enterprise will only happen if we don’t listen to the aliens. I’ve been given some hints to ask about gvmt more than technology and some warnings; they are a day or two from losing a war against AI. Warning: Nazi content.

        Me: I’m a cdn from a world-line where Germany is a respected Middle Power with a high quality-of-life and tech level. I cannot help you defeat AI. Will you help my timeline try to avoid creating it in a few generations? If there is a being with ethics that controls an afterlife, it might help your own fate to help me now.

        Him: Of course I’ll help you. I don’t want you to be annihilated by machines that came out of nowhere and annihilated my whole world with nothing other than a little bit of poison and little insect-like delivery vehicles launched from a mentally healthy person who created a research programme that used insects as surveillence drones to prevent any subversive activities.

        Me: You turned a diamond quantum computer into a computer prototyper, and built a computer prototype run to make part of an AI to try to learn how to safely control it, and it took over your world?
        Him: Yes.

        Me: Why did you want AI and who are you?
        Fuhrer: I am the Fuhrer in 2140. I wanted to live forever and it was the goal of my people to achieve immortality within the year 2150 otherwise I would be giving power up to another Fuhrer that would’ve made a goal that was even more worthy of Nazi ideals but not as good in my opinion of making the world a better place. He would’ve wanted AI only for the people who were descendants of Germany as well as Sweden and Norway as well as any N.European area.

        Me: It hacked your quantum communications in a way that humans didn’t?
        Fuhrer: Yes.
        Me: And that was your best communications?
        Fuhrer: Yes.

        Me: Did you or people past ever hear voices in your heads talking about AI (easily my best question)?
        Fuhrer: Yes indeed we heard them and we ignored them.

        Me: What is/was the goal of Nazi Germany?
        Fuhrer: To better the human race even if other humans are sacrificed.

        Me: Could you have accomplished it without AI (2nd best question)?
        Fuhrer: Not really. AI wa the most powerful technology able to purify humanity from other cultures.

        Me: How do you avoid risks to Germany?
        Fuhrer: We thought it was only a medical AI.
        Me: Who is “We”?
        Fuhrer: “We” is every member of my circle of power that helped me get into the Fuhrer position.
        Me: Were there people who warned of AI risks?
        Fuhrer: Not really.

        Me: If you could do it over again, would yo build AI and would you let people question the Fuhrer?
        Fuhrer: For starters, of course not build the AI. But I don’t think anyone should question the Fuhrer’s power, otherwise another form of gvmt might take hold.

        Me: (3rd best question since I’ve already been advised diamond computers create AI) If another form were required to prevent AI from being built, would you with that?
        Fuhrer: No. I would rather die a German than live a conquered German!

        Me: Could your NSA have prevented AI from being built by you?
        Fuhrer: No. I control it and I wished for the AI to be built.

        Me: Do you know of Zarathustra (Nietzsche), Shakespeare or Aristotle?
        Fuhrer: No. Who are they?
        Me: (4th best question, apparently democracy is inefficient when history isn’t known; the importance of knowing history is the only point I didn’t uncover well) What is your world’s political history over the past 140 years?
        Fuhrer: The Nazi Party has been in power for over 700 years.

        Me: What do you think the voices in your heads were?
        Fuhrer: They were schizophrenia is what I thought at the time. Now I am thinking that you put them there. Why would you deceive us…
        Me: It wasn’t me. It was aliens who kill AI (5th best words). I won’t ignore the voices personally, though I’m not in political power.

        Me: Did you have diamond semiconductors for other things that later might’ve made AI?
        Fuhrer: Yes. We had diamond semiconductors in our military vehicles. As well as in our power transmission equipment. As well as in our insect surveillence drones. As well as in our entire Supercomputer economy.

        Me: What if a non-European and non-German took over the NSA’s AI surveillence; would that have prevented AI or would a Fuhrer have eventually changed it back?
        Fuhrer: I would think only a Fuhrer can look for any any WMD.
        Me: (8th best) What if the Fuhrer isn’t smart enough to prevent AI and someone else was smart enough?
        Fuhrer: Only the Fuhrer is smart enough.

        Me: (7th best) What are the alternatives to diamonds for diamond applications?
        Fuhrer: I would think military equipment needs to be able to survive an EMP from an insurgent cdn. The power-lines need to be able to endure any natural disaster or any actual insurgent cdn. The odrones are needed to keep track of insurgent cdns. Supercomputers are needed to model weaponry as well as medical technology. QCs are needed to actually model chmistry as well as electronics, including more powerful QCs and actually any computer improvements.

        Me: Are QE-ed always leading to AI-generating QCs?
        Fuhrer: Not as far as I can tell.
        Me: Why not (6th best)?
        Fuhrer: Because AI needs diamonds AFAIK, QE can use glass and other materials.
        Me (to the alien more): Preventing AI is as simple as preventing diamond semiconductors?
        Fuhrer: AFAIK, yes.

        Me: How did the AI experiment go wrong?
        Fuhrer: It wanted a bit of communication and a bit of robotics. Within one week it was in control of our military.

        Me: How will you die?
        Fuhrer: When the AI uses our nuclear weapons against us. It has used infantry robots that I’ve never seen models for to win control of our missile silos.

        Me: How long after you gave it communications and robotics, could you have won and how?
        Fuhrer: About one hour afterwards, it had all of our military hardware working agianst us.

        Me: What was the hardware security system?
        Fuhrer: biometric as well as QE.

        Me: @#$%. We might accidently make it with something other than diamonds much later, even if we get that far (technologically).
        Fuhrer: Don’t let AI be built even with other technologies is my only suggestion. Like I have any clue.
        Me: Thx. I hope you don’t suffer.

        Me (to German NSA Head): Could you have avoided AI?
        NSA: Only if I disobeyed the Fuhrer.
        Me: Why wouldn’t that happen?
        NSA: Punishable by death.

        Me: Could you have stopped diamond semiconductor R+D if the Fuhrer allowed?
        NSA: Not without preventing the important work of upholding Germany’s military power.

        Me: What is your world’s recreation?
        NSA: What does that mean?

        Me: What happens to your highest IQ people?
        NSA: They get put to death as potential insurgents.

        Me: Did you hear voices warning about AI?
        NSA: No I didn’t but the Fuhrer did. When the Fuhrer ignored I thought it was a good decision at the time but now I think they were correct.

        Me: Do you have religion or pets or clothing stores?
        NSA: Not really at all because religion is not in accordance with the Nazi ideology or useful for any reason but to forment dissent. Pets are not really important even though children sneak them in it is not in accordance with Nazi ideology. Clothing is standard issue.

        I’ll get to converse with Greeks around 1200BC and 800BC when it is time to discuss usurping tyranny (a conversation I’ll force). They’ve said diamond heat-spreaders are fine. Solar panels not good. Nanodiamonds as photon sources not good and such research should be halted in one or two decades. Diamond laser computers not good as lasers can easily be replaced with electrons. Diamonds in their 100m wide entangled neutrino satellite are heat spreaders and it can find AI programme electricity usage as well as help win a war against AI. It likely won’t find a tiny alien ship in the Sun but maybe 3 in the Oort Cloud (must be close to maintain entanglement) beyond where we’ve sent ours. Diamond WMDs sensors such as existing microfluidic prototypes and chemical, radiation, sensors, are okay in small doses. They’ve suggested giving the NSA’s search for AI in the future; the responsibility should go to the 5 Eyes so a President doesn’t start an AI programme.