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JU's Public Policy Institute Hosts Panel on Drone Tech

Jacksonville University's newly formed, and soon to be ubiquitous, Public Policy Institute, is holding a panel discussion this Thursday, October 24 at the Gooding Auditorium on "Military and Private Drone Usage".

Published October 22, 2013 in News      8 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Jacksonville University's newly formed, and soon to be ubiquitous, Public Policy Institute is holding a panel discussion this Thursday, October 24 at the Gooding Auditorium on "Military and Private Drone Usage". See Flyer Here

They've invited some impressive people including Ambassador Nancy Soderberg and Stephen Dare, publishing partner at MetroJacksonville.com - see the full panel and their bios.



Why does this matter and why is the Public Policy Institute opening this very important discussion?

Military Drones, it's just the beginning. Seriously, it's a little scary.

The term "killer robots" may sound like a b-rated movie followed by a dedicated cohort of dystopian-loving film nerds but it's actually a present reality and policy decisions about its use in warfare (and civil society) are eminent. Well, let's hope positive policy decisions are made by debate and discussion and not by military procurement - which is where are now.  

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones are just one element of a broader movement towards automated/robotic military technology. For now, military UAV’s are directly controlled by human operators and decisions to engage a target is one that still requires a human decision. This is a changing proposition. Technology already exists, though not explicitly used, to launch attacks based on predetermined algorithms.  This is referred to as “Lethal Autonomy,” which essentially means, “ when robots kill independent of direct human decision making.”

This is not just about drones which will eventually log millions of hours of unmanned surveillance videos and will eventually be programmed to operate independently of direct human control. It is arguably about every type of robot you can imagine being programmed for specific military combat needs. This technology is incredibly tempting especially because it is cheap, at least it will be, when compared to the cost of empowering and training, you know, a human. What are those, again?



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8 Comments

TheCat

October 22, 2013, 11:50:49 AM
So, what are some  privacy concerns...


In 1989 the Supreme Court ruled in Florida vs. Riley that the public air space is just that, public and the police do not need a warrant to look at private property. If they happen to see something illegal then they are free to take appropriate action. Police do not need a warrant to fly over private property for surveillance.

When you're talking about helicopters conducting surveillance operations there are, thankfully, obvious restrictions. The flights have a pilot. Pilots need to eat. They get tired. They have to use the bathroom. They have families they want to see. The actual machine is costly. It requires fuel and maintenance and it can't comfortably stay in one position while in flight. The entire operation is costly in terms of man power and financial expense.

With drones, it's a whole new game. Those things can stay in the air for days just hovering over private property. They don't really need an operator. The police are currently legally entitled to just watch and collect data on the property and persons they've decided to watch.

It's not just governmental surveillance that is at issue. A neighbor has the same right to fly a drone over private property and conduct their own "surveillance".

This will take paparazzi to a whole new level.   

All this to say, who wants to get into the drone blinding business with me?

TheCat

October 23, 2013, 01:28:28 PM
1 More Day until the panel event. A reminder that Ambassador Nancy Soderberg is part of the panel. If you didn't see her interview on the Daily Show you can catch it on this link:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-oct-jus-public-policy-institute-hosts-panel-on-drones/page/3

The event Flyer:

http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/Other/Jacksonville-University/i-3KDBrXF/0/XL/Drone%20Panel%20Flyer%201-XL.jpg

stephendare

October 23, 2013, 03:03:06 PM
Im actually looking forward to this panel discussion.

We are, after all, a military town, and one of the sties chosen for drone base deployment.

Does anyone on this forum actually believe that the local cops and code enforcement people would hesitate one second before deploying drones onto your private property?

And it would only be a matter of time before notnow or ocklawaha started claiming that lethal robots were constitutionally protected under their right to bear arms.

stephendare

October 24, 2013, 10:30:45 AM
Here are the questions tonight.

1. On War Defense

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are just one element of a broader movement towards automated/robotic military technology.

Currently, military UAV’s are directly controlled by human operators and decisions to engage a target is one that still requires a human decision. This is a changing proposition. Technology already exists, though not explicitly used, to launch attacks based on predetermined algorithms.  This is referred to as “Lethal Autonomy,” which essentially means, “when robots kill independent of direct human decision making.”

What are the potential risks/benefits of this sort of technology?

Who would be held accountable if this type of technology persists and something goes terribly wrong? The commander who deployed it and hundreds like it? The politician who authorized the use? The Manufacturer for developing it?

Is it in the best strategic and financial interest of the military to develop robotic technology that can take military action without direct human decision making?

There is a growing movement, led by groups like the International Committee for Robot Arms Control and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, calling for the development of an International Robotic Arms Treaty that specifically denies the ability to weaponize unmanned robotic technology and is compared to other weapons treaties like laser blinding weapons, mine usage and, of course, nuclear weapons.

Is this an unnecessary call for action? Is the threat of robotic warfare a potential reality or a fantasy fiction that we are being asked to take seriously?

Do you have any other ethical concerns in military usage of UAVs?

2. Policing:

Police aerial surveillance is naturally restrained by the costs associated with manned air flights.  UAV technology dramatically reduces the costs of aerial surveillance but also has the potential to save substantial sums of money as it can potentially replace patrol units.

Is UAV technology any different than video technology? Are the threats/benefits different?
Should UAV usage by police require warrants? What about event based surveillance like the Boston Marathon?
Does this lead us towards a “persistent surveillance” society where each person has the virtual equivalent of a police officer that follows them everywhere they go and watches everything they do?
In the same way that there is a potential for automated warfare are we facing a the potential for automated law enforcement?

3. Constitution and Policy Development: Privacy, 2nd amendment expansion, Democracy

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade association, argues that policy decisions regarding UAVs should be “technology neutral”. In that, legislating towards one technology will only create future legal ambiguities as new technologies are developed.

What kind of threats does UAV technology pose to “democracy”? Are UAV technologies any different from any other surveillance technology?
Arguments have been made that UAV’s and other robotic technology will potentially expand 2nd amendment rights as kill decisions are made, once again, not by human decisions on an individual basis but by predetermined algorithms.

Do you think the 2nd amendment allows for automated lethal action via UAVs and other robotic technologies for an individual?

At the moment the FAA has become the arbitrator of privacy issues regarding UAV’s. The U.S. House Appropriations Committee issued a report on its transportation appropriations bill (HR 2610) for the 2014 fiscal year that includes a measure directing the FAA “to collaborate with other Federal agencies in evaluating the impact that broader use of UAS in the national airspace could have on individual privacy.”

Should the FAA be the arbitrator of privacy issues in relationship to UAVs? Should the individual states or the FAA determine UAV regulations?


4. Civil uses: Journalism, revolutions, and paparazzi

How much access should civilians have when using UAVs? Should there be licensing, training, or other regulations?
Civil harassment from stalking individuals to nefarious watching of children on a playground to celebrity photographing for tabloids has the potential to aggravate civil society. What are your ideas to limit harassment through the use of UAVs?
How do we ensure privacy rights when using UAVs?

BridgeTroll

October 24, 2013, 01:08:49 PM
So, what are some  privacy concerns...


In 1989 the Supreme Court ruled in Florida vs. Riley that the public air space is just that, public and the police do not need a warrant to look at private property. If they happen to see something illegal then they are free to take appropriate action. Police do not need a warrant to fly over private property for surveillance.

When you're talking about helicopters conducting surveillance operations there are, thankfully, obvious restrictions. The flights have a pilot. Pilots need to eat. They get tired. They have to use the bathroom. They have families they want to see. The actual machine is costly. It requires fuel and maintenance and it can't comfortably stay in one position while in flight. The entire operation is costly in terms of man power and financial expense.

With drones, it's a whole new game. Those things can stay in the air for days just hovering over private property. They don't really need an operator. The police are currently legally entitled to just watch and collect data on the property and persons they've decided to watch.

It's not just governmental surveillance that is at issue. A neighbor has the same right to fly a drone over private property and conduct their own "surveillance".

This will take paparazzi to a whole new level.   

All this to say, who wants to get into the drone blinding business with me?


I see the ruling regarding public airspace as not changing.  An attempted change to this would likely have a detrimental cause and effect to many other public space issues.  If you don't want something seen... cover it up.

As to paparazzi or private drones... I would like to see a ruling to treat them as you would a branch from the neighbor's tree overhanging your property... you lop it off... or in this case... shoot it down, or catch it with a net or zap it with a laser...

TheCat

October 24, 2013, 03:15:41 PM
The Panel starts in three hours.

Cheshire Cat

October 25, 2013, 05:44:28 PM
So how did the discussion go and what kind of turn out was there on this compelling topic?

TheCat

December 01, 2013, 10:15:52 PM
Amazon Prime Air

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/98BIu9dpwHU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/98BIu9dpwHU</a>

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/01/amazon-prime-air-delivery-drones_n_4369685.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
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