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Chris Anderson: Weaponized Lego, Drones & IoT
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/29/2015 | 11:49:55 AM
Re: Chris Anderson: Weaponized Lego, Drones & IoT
@zerox203- I'm actually a fan of the name "maker movement" because it is very inclusive. It isn't "engineer movement" or "artist movement" or "inventor movement." It leaves space for all sorts of people who put something physical together.

I also like that we're celebrating the creation of things again as opposed to just software. It isn't that I'm against software, but I was getting a little tired of everyone working only on the next pizza delivery app.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/29/2015 | 11:46:25 AM
Re: Flying things with the interwebs
@Tom- Yes, the reason I used the term is because it is actually illegal in most countries to fly their drones in places that would tax it. And nothing is autonomous wihtout being programmed frist. It isn't that the drone actually lives a separate life and does what it wants. But it makes decisions based on what you want it to do without your input. So for example, the "follow me function." You don't control the camera. You simply say follow me and it keeps you in frame and changes angles on its own.

Yes, if it was challenged by a deep urban environment or thousands of other flying drones, it might not be able to handle it. But it is illegal to use it that way anyway.

Also, for the record, I don't think anyone would ever program a weapon system to select its own target. That seems like the fastest way to a critical failure I can imagine. That's how Tony Stark ends up with Ultron.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/29/2015 | 11:46:22 AM
Re: Flying things with the interwebs
@Tom- Yes, the reason I used the term is because it is actually illegal in most countries to fly their drones in places that would tax it. And nothing is autonomous wihtout being programmed frist. It isn't that the drone actually lives a separate life and does what it wants. But it makes decisions based on what you want it to do without your input. So for example, the "follow me function." You don't control the camera. You simply say follow me and it keeps you in frame and changes angles on its own.

Yes, if it was challenged by a deep urban environment or thousands of other flying drones, it might not be able to handle it. But it is illegal to use it that way anyway.

Also, for the record, I don't think anyone would ever program a weapon system to select its own target. That seems like the fastest way to a critical failure I can imagine. That's how Tony Stark ends up with Ultron.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2015 | 2:18:26 PM
Re: Flying things with the interwebs
>He can build a drone which is essentially autonomous.

It can be programmed, but its autonomy is limited. It is designed to operate in an environment without threats. One reason the military doesn't use autonomous drones -- apart from ones programmed for simple missions like a cruise missile -- is that we're still not good at programming armed, flying systems for all possible scenarios. Smart weapons just aren't smart enough to make their own targeting choices yet.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/27/2015 | 11:28:37 PM
Re: Flying things with the interwebs
@Broadway0474- Well, I'm sure that is in the eye of the beholder. But what he was getting at is that the military isn't trying to do what they're doing. He can build a drone which is essentially autonomous. He showed off some prety amazing camera skills of the drone. One that was cool was a "follow me mode." You launch the drone and and it tracks you where you go (via your phone) and always keeps you in the middle of a camera shot. But i changes angles and altitude to get the best shot. He said it was essentially Spielberg in a drone.

At any rate, what Chris was getting at is that the military has pilots. It has mechanics. It can afford to make them less autonomous. It can afford to make them less durable.He said, "mine are more sophisticated because my customers are less sophisticated."

That said, I'm sure there are all sorts of "stealth drones" or whatever that would be more sophisticated in some ways. 

But his drones are being used in Syria to deliver humanitarian aid in a war zone, and they know how to self-destruct if a bad guy gets a hold of it, so we're not talking just a toy here. This is something that knows how to work alone, without a pilot, in a war zone. 

You can decide based on your own definition of "sophisticated." But I'd say they are certainly impressive for something that is built for a tiny fraction ($700-$5000) of the cost of a military drone (sometimes in the millions).
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/27/2015 | 11:20:40 PM
Re: Flying things with the interwebs
@michelle- It is pretty fascinating. Obviously, Chris is a serial entrepreneur with skills and deep understanding. But it is clear (and he was the first to admit it) that there was a little serendipity here. I don't want to use the term luck because it implies no understanding or effort. But when he contacted this person online he had no idea he would find a teenager with the chops to build an international business from a garage. This wasn't lifelong friends starting a business. This was two people brought together by accident (fate?) who had the good sense and skillset to realize what they had.


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