We live in an ever-changing world that leaves us seniors breathless – new medicines, new health treatments, new phones, new toys and new weapons. I was idly listening to the news this morning trying to follow what’s going on in Egypt and Syria when I heard a stunning report. It was like listening to an historical announcement: “Man will soon be flying through the air and from country to country”. Imagine how that news item stunned the world at the beginning of the 20th century when the Wright Brothers were getting their act together.
Now they are talking about new developments of “drones”, pilotless planes or what we used to call “model airplanes” when we were kids and building them. Well, those “model airplanes” grew up into drones and now carry cameras, guns and bombs and are today’s strategic weapons in the war against terrorists. An operator can sit at home dressed in a pair of socks and direct his drone over the mountains in Afghanistan while sipping his morning coffee. He doesn’t know his victims and he doesn’t need to see him; he can destroy him by simply clicking his mouse.
So what’s new? We will soon have drones delivering goods around the world – an urgent medical or computer part, the dry cleaning, tickets to tonight’s game, in fact anything you can think of. If it can be flown in an ordinary plane belonging to a courier service like FedEx or DHL it can be “droned” to its destination. After that, of course it will only be a matter of time until passenger planes are pilotless as well. No more of those comforting announcements about the weather at the other end.
I am delighted to think that I was a pioneer of the “drone age” – at age 10, back in World War II, I was building model planes out of scraps of wood from old tomato boxes and powering them with elastic bands. And they flew!