Sramana Majumdar

"Violence, Identity and Self-determination: Narratives of conflict from the Kashmir Valley" 4:15 PM, Monday 18 Nov Room 239, BYC Bryn Mawr College

Exposure Index

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At Drone Conference, Talk of Morals and Toys

At New York University this weekend, there was a drone conference focused on commercial and private use.  Needless to say, privacy and other moral hazards were a major topic.  Or, as the articles author described it, “the checkered reputation remained the day’s subtext.”  Many of the visitors and speakers quoted in the article explicitly connected […]

European Defense Firms’ Drone Push Remains Elusive

Despite interest, the United States and Israel remain the dominant manufacturers of drones.  Some of Europe’s problems seem to originate from bad management – see the part about their being more requested variants of a drone than countries offering to buy it.  Others come down to bad PR management – namely Germany’s EuroDrone project, killed […]

Drone Pilot Fights for Right to Profit in the Unmanned Skies

The subject of drone regulation is very much up in the air.  As the word “drone” covers anything from a bird-sized toy to something dozens of feet wide, the current blanket rules often seem arbitrary or unfair.  This article describes a man who is arguing in court that the FAA has no authority on unmanned […]

‘Terminator’ Robots Kill Jellyfish, ‘Sliced Up’ To Eliminate Swarms

In what sounds like the start of a science fiction plot, a Korean university group is developing a swarm of robots designed to kill swarms of jellyfish.  However, the technology, particularly the planned “cooperative strategies” part, has a lot of potential uses, such as fishing, trash/debris removal, and mitigating oil spills to name a few.

Aging F-16 Converted Into a Target-Practice Drone

The word “drone” is a controversial one.  It originally referred to automated targets for training, such as the F-16 in this article.  While many in the Air Force (as well as other UAV operators) detest the term, ‘drone’ appears to be becoming the standard word for the technology.  A similar linguistic example would be how […]

DOJ calls for drone privacy policy 7 years after FBI’s first drone launched

The greatest public concern over domestic drones is privacy.  As UAVs become more common and more widely used, the debate over their use and regulation will only get more intense.  This year’s revelations about the NSA has presumably not helped various departments’ arguments for self-regulation, though surveys on the subject of drones remain rare and […]

Unmanned Vehicles in Fiction: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

In the pilot episode of Marvel’s new TV show, the protagonists use a fleet of mini-quadrotors to inspect and map a crime scene.  While the miniaturization and capabilities shown are beyond current technology, the idea of using unmanned vehicles to map crime or disaster scenes is not.

Nissan’s Autonomous Car Is Road Legal in Japan

Nissan can now test it’s mostly autonomous prototypes on roads in Japan.  The system is not yet fully autonomous, but can handle much of the routine driving.  The system as currently described sounds very similar to Tesla’s autopilot goal mentioned in an earlier post on this website.

UK detention of Reprieve activist consistent with NSA’s view of drone opponents as ‘threats’ and ‘adversaries’

That this story appeared in the Guardian (UK) and alJazeera (Qatar) but not U.S. news organizations underscores the uniqueness of the U.S. majority support for drone strikes in a world that generally disapproves of them.

Tesla To Build A Self-Driving Car Within 3 Years, CEO Musk Says

Following similar announcements by Mercedes and Nissan, Tesla Motors has announced it, too, plans to build driverless cars.  Or at least MOSTLY driverless.  Tesla’s plan is being described as an autopilot – presumably primarily useful for cruising along highways.  This is both more easily achievable and probably more socially acceptable than an instantaneous jump to […]