Sunday, December 15, 2013

Drone on

The Merriam dictionary defines a drone as a stingless male bee that has the role of mating with the queen and does not gather nectar or pollen. That one lucky guy who gets all the good things in life without slogging his butt. If you ask me to define a drone, I would rather describe it as that unmanned aerial vehicle loaded with arms. I would go on to say that these unmanned armed flying objects are made in particular to kill terrorists. Why me, ask anyone today what a drone is, and they would give you a completely different definition that has nothing to do with bees.

However controversial the use of drones will always be, these unmanned aerial vehicles only seem to find a wider and different usage. The CEO of the largest American international electronic commerce company Amazon.com recently spoke about his fantasy to deliver packages to customers using drones. Packages that ideally took a day-or-two to reach its destination will take only 30-minutes if the company’s vision becomes a reality. And you never know very soon our ordered packages will reach us even quicker than pizzas. And like pizzas if it doesn't reach within the promised time, it could be free, free, free!

Of course Amazon CEO's fantasy can come true only if the federal authorities facilitate a widespread use of drones. Today it is Amazon, tomorrow farmers may want to use drones to spray fertilizer over their crops, the search and rescue team may want to use drones to find people stuck in a catastrophe, film makers may want to use drones to document a film, and worst drones will be used as spy robots to keep a watch on the content of our calls and our whereabouts. Everyone would want to use it. Even individuals who have the money to buy a drone will have one in their backyard to help them walk their dogs, buy groceries, pay their bills, and do all the personal jobs they can think of.

So while the rich, famous and the powerful use these unmanned drones to fulfill their dreams, visions and fantasies, the people in the middle and lower class of society either become victims of these robotic flying machines or remain spectators of complicated and controversial foreign and internal policies.

So if authorities pass the use of drones for commercial purposes, we'll not only be cribbing about road traffic but air-traffic will also become a thing of concern. Traffic rules would change. We will have to stop at a red signal warning us of an approaching drone. And then, what about our beautiful birds? They will curse the human race for encroaching into their territory. We talk about saving endangered animals like the Bengal Tiger, the African Wild Dog, American alligator and many such species. But with drones getting a green light for commercial use, we will have to worry about our colorful birds too. Many of them will not only remain endangered but will become extinct.

Recently hundreds of world leaders got together in Johannesburg to be a part of Nelson Mandela's last journey. Many of these leaders delivered speeches about the greatness of Mandela. They called him a hero. They said how important it is to live by Sir Mandela's teachings of non-violence. But then, how do drones fit into his teachings?

There are many advocates who swear by the tactical advantages that drones bring. Some call it the best modified robotic machinery bringing in a revolution to mankind. What do you think, are they really the best thing that happened to us?

Well, I like the bees that make my sweet honey!

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