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10 Scary Modern Technologies


5
Drones
Journalists watch a quadrocopter drone with a device for marking telephone cables with artificial DNA take off in 2013. Deutsche Telekom is releasing drones across Germany to fight cable theft, which has shot up with the increasing value of copper. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Journalists watch a quadrocopter drone with a device for marking telephone cables with artificial DNA take off in 2013. Deutsche Telekom is releasing drones across Germany to fight cable theft, which has shot up with the increasing value of copper. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A CIA operator in Virginia can fly a near-silent Predator drone through the night sky of Pakistan, locate his target on a video screen and rain down Hellfire missiles from the comfort of his cubicle [source: Mayer]. While counterterrorism officials and the White House defend unmanned drones as a "cleaner" alternative to military action, the use of drones raises important questions about government-sanctioned assassination and the inevitable deaths of innocent civilians.

As scary as military drones are, people are truly creeped out by the prospect of domestic spy drones. In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed a bill allowing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to draw up rules for the use of commercial and police drones in U.S. airspace [source: Smithson]. And New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg commented that the presence of drones hovering over American cities was "inevitable" [source: Haq]. Law enforcement is buzzed over the idea of trailing suspects from the skies, but privacy advocates worry that it's a small step from targeted surveillance to indiscriminate 24/7 spying on everyone [source: Lowy].

For a totally different kind of creepy, let's look at the desktop technology that promises to revolutionize manufacturing if it doesn't get outlawed first.