I hate drones.

Caveat: My opinions are my own and are not representative of Cygnus Business Media and/or the properties of Cygnus Law Enforcement Media. 

A quick search on Google exemplifies my point. Here, let me do it for you. "Drone" has taken the world by storm. I've written about this before. You may remember an entry from last year "On flying remote-controlled vehicles." I wrote that in an attempt to differentiate the technology used by the military versus the technology used by law enforcement for their various purposes. Apparently, journalists don't read my blog. Why would they? I'll admit that I failed to fully realize my hatred for the word: drone. Note we're not talking the technology. Just the word. For this entry I'm going to lump all "drone" technology into one. The word does, so why not follow suit? 

Let's go weird and guess at where the word comes from; my first instinct is the drone from a bee colony. (Trust your instincts.) From what I understand of bees is that there's a single female Queen and a TON of male bees: some workers, some fighters, and some just stay home. (The bee universe is probably much more complex. Trolls, back off.) Those male bees are drones. They do their jobs without the Queen giving them specific instructions. They do their jobs without another bee off in the distance looking through a screen with a controller in its hands. Are you seeing my point? I could go all "Robocop" here ... but I won't. Maybe after I see the remake ... if I see the remake. Yes I saw the original, and it was awesome.

Why the drone is wrong

  1. It illustrates something autonomous; something that doesn't need require someone a human controlling it to complete the task assigned. In this you're removing the human aspect of the work being done. Is it frightening to drum-up the idea that some robot is flying overhead analyzing recorded activity triggering, say, automated tickets? Yep. Take the red light camera technology issue a bit back. Cameras took measurements and doled out tickets with zero tolerance. Even then, someone reviewed the footage. Using "drone" depicts that there isn't a professional highly-trained law enforcement officer or solider "behind the wheel." There is. These vehicles, while not carrying a single person, are still piloted by someone. Let's not discredit their - your - work.
  2. Drone insinuates that the item referenced is, in fact, disposable. Ok, yes I'd rather have a multi-million dollars shot down and blown up than an officer - people are not disposable. However, that money for police departments, sheriff's offices, search and rescue teams, etc. isn't either. Budget's are tight. If enough work went into squeezing the dollars out of an already strapped budget, if enough work went into writing that perfect grant, then give that effort the respect it deserves. This technology can offer so much in force-multiplication, I see no reason to call it something that makes it seem like its a pawn being set up to be knocked off the board.
  3. It's commonly meant for the negative. Watch the 10 o'clock news. If any reporter brings up a robot in the negative context its more than likely not a "feel good" piece. Did a drone diffuse the bomb found on a highway? I'm betting a robot did. Did a drone cost millions of tax payers money? You betcha. Was a suspect found in a backyard using over-head surveillance? I'll wager that you'll hear "UAV" or a remote controlled device. Drones have been referenced so often and for so long that its a fight to convince the public that law enforcement using UAVs could be a good thing. "A rose by any other name," right? This technology - all technology off the bat, really - is inherently unbiased. Technology's are made "bad" by the creator, programmer and/or controller. Until we get artificial intelligence in the mix, good versus evil is all ours. My computer doesn't actually have it out for me. (Apparently pouring coffee on it doesn't make it go faster.)

Until the machine can be programmed to process any and all input data, the term "drone" will never be accurate. So, please, journalists, media, and any talking head in front of a camera, try to stop using the term "drone." It's attractive, sure. Will it sell newspapers? One can only guess. Will it create clicks? Maybe. (I did use it in this blog title after all.)

In my opinion, it's still wrong incorrect.

Stay safe and thank you.