Last week, The Daily Beast reported that North Dakota was officially the first state authorizing law enforcement to “fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas.”
This was particularly interesting and relevant news for us, because a while back we actually built a Taser-mounted drone, dubbed C.U.P.I.D. (Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone), which delivered 80,000 volts to a volunteer during SXSW 2014.
Now to clarify, we didn’t do this for the sake of sensationalism. The goal of that demonstration was instead to inspire a critical conversation about the power of technology and its lighting-fast progression. A progression that, quite frankly, legislation simply can’t keep up with.
“Technology is outpacing meaningful legislation, which is problematic,” said Chaotic Moon Studios CEO Ben Lamm. “At the beginning, it’s a Wild West of sorts, free of regulation. And that—when taken advantage of irresponsibly by a select few—can have some terrifying results. Then the public panics and the government steps in like an overprotective parent and slaps on an all-out ban, and that’s an obstacle to opportunity. It hinders progression and prevents us from utilizing tech that could be implemented in some seriously positive ways.”
“We need to guide this technology in a way that both the government and the public are comfortable with,” Lamm continued. “The key is education and thoughtful legislation around emerging tech and a regulating body that’s insightful and adaptable enough to adjust and update that legislation as the new technology evolves.”
At Chaotic Moon, we focus on being at the forefront of technology. We appreciate its power, but we also believe it’s a neutral force: Technology is neither good nor evil; it’s all about how you use it.
“There’s a reason for the expression ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’” explained Lamm. “This technology has serious potential, but in and of itself, it’s simply science. It’s how you apply it that tips the scales one way or another. That’s what we need to recognize.”
In terms of technology that’s neutral both at its core and in its application, look no further than our current project, Blue Eyes. This is a drone for cop cars that isn’t equipped with ammo but with a camera, allowing it to record, from an all-encompassing birdseye view, situations and interactions such as car chases and arrests. The purpose of Blue Eyes isn’t attack or apprehension, but unbiased observation and documentation, which has the power to serve as a completely unbiased party benefitting police and civilians alike.
“We’ve been exploring the possible uses of drones for years,” said Lamm, “but Blue Eyes is in a league of its own. This technology, used this way, allows for full transparency that doesn’t just protect cops but people like you and me as well. This could completely transform law enforcement, and it’s a win-win for everyone.”
In conclusion, there is something simultaneously comforting and creepy about a technologically armed “Big Brother.” In a perfect world, it would result in a crime-free utopia, but there’s still a lot to be considered about the proper implementation of this technology and, as always, there are a lot of questions that require answers. That’s where tech-savvy “little brothers” of sorts come in—to keep that conversation going.
“It’s critical to push the boundaries of technology,” said Lamm, “to innovate, shake things up and even scare people a little…to force everyone to take a long, hard look at what’s possible and also acknowledge the fact that just because something is possible, it doesn’t mean we should do it.”