, Salem, MA


June 17, 2014

Watson: Drones are poised to take over


Social media companies, especially, like to promote drones as the natural next “open-source,” democratizing, empowering, Web-YouTube-Tumblr-Snapchat-interfacing, must-have app. But we are losing sight of the reality that the original, sort-of-iconoclastic, sort-of-status-quo-challenging Internet culture is being transformed into something that just captures us with new market forces — under the guise that the Web has somehow freed us from a consumer mentality.

The FAA — not immune to the Zeitgeist — will not attempt to halt UAVs. So, we are about to witness a drone invasion. My guess is that within a decade, we will see UAVs everywhere, at all times. Within buildings, neighborhoods, parks, towns, cities, and above roads, drones will hover, move and go about their useful or silly or monitoring business, constantly.

Some people will not mind that. Others will feel like it diminishes some aspects of the quality of life. Either way, when we look up — day or night — there will be less quiet, less calm, less stillness, less presence of the natural world, and more conformity.

Brian T. Watson is a Salem News columnist. Contact

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