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21st century birdwatching
December 29, 2013 6:07 AM   Subscribe

Drone Survival Guide is a downloadable poster of robotic birds. It's also available on mirrored paper for those in harm's way.
posted by xowie (28 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hello to all at GCHQ, hope you had a merry Xmas and have a happy new year!
posted by popcassady at 6:23 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I agree putting a Predator in the same category as the quadcopter is stretching the idea of what a UAV is, although it is something we see everywhere," says Pater. "We had remote-controlled toy planes for many years without referring to them as kill robots."

This is an interesting point. Just the existence of armed military drones make us look at hobbyist aircraft differently.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:41 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cool poster, though nowadays I wonder what sort of trouble we're getting in just downloading such a thing...

The "robotic bird" angle is poetic, but spotter manuals for aircraft go back to the beginning of aviation. There was a "ground observer corps" in WWII to protect the US against enemy air attack, and people trained with manuals containing silhouettes, just like on this poster, only with German and Japanese "piloted birds", instead.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:26 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


What type of minds create such nightmarish beasts?
posted by nowhere man at 7:37 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on.
posted by adamvasco at 7:39 AM on December 29, 2013


bad link, adamvasco... I wanted to read that
posted by Tom-B at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here, Tom-B
posted by saucysault at 7:45 AM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


the guardian article is curious in that attributes a position to drone proponents that is most often heard from critics (it's remote control warfare conducted as if war were a video game).
posted by jpe at 7:50 AM on December 29, 2013


[Fixed link in adamvasco's comment.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


...I wonder what sort of trouble we're getting in just downloading such a thing...

Don't fret too much: the Pegasii have already flown the barn.

IHS Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2013-14: Unmanned — Now Available*:
IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned provides comprehensive reference material on over 400 unmanned aerial vehicles and drones, and over 100 targets, under development, in production or in service across over 50 countries.

Drawing on the legacy of the former Jane's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles softbound title, IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned delivers independent insight into the technology, programs and capabilities of unmanned air platforms, including photographs and diagrams.

IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned supports both industry and military intelligence and analysis requirements:

- Military and security organizations benefit from trusted independent technical profiles to support the development and maintenance of long-term unmanned airborne capability advantage

- A&D businesses receive market intelligence they can rely on to drive successful business development, strategy and product development activity in the unmanned air sector
*Amazon, Out of Print -- Limited Availability.
posted by cenoxo at 8:10 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


So adamvasco, the problem that article highlights is that we need to improve the guilt associated with drone operation, right? If we can accept that people are making errors, then we should be able to accept machines can make errors too. I'm not seeing why we need to have a person on the back end of a UAV, or well at least not one aware with the consequences. Think of this like an extension of Yale's Stanley Milgram's work from the 60s. Either build up the pixelated experience and build UAV controls into Minecraft, and don't let people know what they're doing - no guilt - OR - just build an artificial intelligence that confirms on close probability and just does the deed.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:15 AM on December 29, 2013


Cool poster, though nowadays I wonder what sort of trouble we're getting in just downloading such a thing...

(Sadly) I feel like these days we have a growing need for a 'this will likely put you on a watch list' equivalent to the NSFW link warning.
posted by Inkslinger at 8:17 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


So adamvasco, the problem that article highlights....
The article highlights several problems not one; among them:
The US and British militaries deliver faulty information, and few or no statistics about civilian deaths.
Deaths were running at 4,700 up to last Feb. casualties don't seem to be counted.
What the public ( and politicians )need to understand is that the video provided by a drone is a far cry from clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited clouds and perfect light.
Suicide statistics in this career field aren't reported, nor are the data on how many troops working in UAV positions are heavily medicated for depression, sleep disorders and anxiety.
As to accepting human errors I take it you are therefore happy to drive your car if you know it has substantial errors as well as take a train or a plane, and yes I call it a substantial error if there is seen as no differerce between a shovel and a rifle, or a wedding party and a band of terror seeking brigands.
Also I question what the western governments are doing blowing up poor brown people half a planet way because they sure aren't a threat to Kansas or Wigan. But like you I didn't vote on this.
posted by adamvasco at 9:24 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amazon: "drone" results. Soon, the damned things will be as common as houseflies and we can start deploying countermeasures.
posted by cenoxo at 9:25 AM on December 29, 2013


> Deaths were running at 4,700 up to last Feb.

An internet search returns 4700 as the most common current number. I know we didn't stop killing ten months ago. Did we stop counting? Caring? These are ongoing war crimes with dead and mutilated innocents. The other day I read about a massacre in Yemen and I was relieved when I read further and saw that it was a human on the ground firing an artillery shell.
posted by bukvich at 9:52 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Think of this like an extension of Yale's Stanley Milgram's work from the 60s. Either build up the pixelated experience and build UAV controls into Minecraft, and don't let people know what they're doing - no guilt - OR - just build an artificial intelligence that confirms on close probability and just does the deed.

Not the only two options, of course. We could do what most people do when they hear about the Milgram experiments, and conclude that we shouldn't do such things.

But I think the social-psychological logic of your statement is pretty powerful, and I shudder thinking of it being used right now in the halls of DARPA to build our own Skynet and T-series cyborgs.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:22 AM on December 29, 2013


Reminds me of the Plane Spotter's Playing Cards from WWII.

When I was at XOXO Fest this year, the opening address was from Chris Anderson, talking about how he'd stumbled into making civilian drones for agricultural use. It was a fascinating talk, reminding me that there are things you can use drones for that are NOT blowing up wedding parties.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:39 AM on December 29, 2013


Hmmm, this already feels dated to me, like it would have been a fresh art idea 5 years ago. The artist in his interview barely mentions civilian drones and only tangentially as evidence of a "drone aesthetic" (?). He tries to make what he's saying edgy but it seems out of touch with where the discourse is now ( proliferation of drones, govt or or police or corporate or grassroots or public controlled) in ordinary civilian life in developed country cities)
posted by Bwithh at 11:41 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


...I shudder thinking of it being used right now in the halls of DARPA to build our own Skynet and T-series cyborgs.

Meet the Sims … and Shoot Them. The rise of militainment, Foreign Policy, February 23,2010.

Will video games help USAF recruit drone pilots?, Daily Air Force News, December 12, 2012.

Do video gamers make the best drone pilots?, GCN Emerging Tech, April 18, 2013.

No One Wants To Be A Drone Pilot, U.S. Air Force Discovers, Popular Science, August 21, 2013.
posted by cenoxo at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


If a Drone Strike Hit an American Wedding, We'd Ground Our Fleet
posted by homunculus at 1:45 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The various folks running the drones operations and making day to day decisions about targets and strikes appear to be operating with extremely limited oversight and no accountability. I think that civilian leadership is under the impression that they've setup a narrow tightly defined program, but in fact the military and CIA are blowing up anything that looks suspect and then tweaking the stats to look successful and get a bigger budget.
posted by humanfont at 5:34 PM on December 29, 2013


The Case Against Drone Strikes on People Who Only 'Act' Like Terrorists
"Here's why these attacks present a much higher risk for civilian casualties and provoke significant anti-U.S. sentiment ...The term "signature strike" is used to distinguish strikes conducted against individuals who "match a pre-identified 'signature' of behavior that the U.S. links to militant activity," rather than targeting a specific person." From The Atlantic, August 19, 2013.
posted by cenoxo at 7:37 PM on December 29, 2013


Drone targets are known as signature strikes.
This is when the CIA or the military makes the decision to fire based not on who the targets are but on whether they are exhibiting suspicious patterns of behavior thought to be "signatures" of terrorists.
So what's a signature behavior?
Robert Greenwald: As I listened to the stories of the survivors and victims, it became strikingly apparent that the CIA simply had no idea whom they were targeting. These strikes may be technically accurate, but the intelligence on which they are based is damningly flawed.
posted by adamvasco at 9:11 AM on December 30, 2013


So what's a signature behavior?

Picking okra, apparently.
posted by homunculus at 11:10 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The FAA is working to develop drone operational guidelines for US airspace by the end of 2015
posted by adamvasco at 4:27 PM on December 30, 2013


What really happened when a U.S. drone hit a Yemeni wedding convoy?
posted by homunculus at 12:21 PM on January 20


The Rules of Drone Warfare - "Sometimes what's written down isn't always what happens"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:53 AM on January 22


Kindle for the Drone Debate
posted by homunculus at 11:35 PM on January 28


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