Drones & Bots; What’s The Big Deal?


Gradually we have been gliding into the drone age. Drone cameras have drastically decreased their size so they can fly along easily. Drone sensors are more powerful than ever. The auto-pilot technology has also impressively improved. Together it makes drones cheaper and better available to average humanity. All drone hobbyists together will create and share powerful innovations. Chances are that drones will form the first technology where hobbyists and the toy industry will transcend the military-industrial complex. In China there are already drones for sale that can all but successfully compete with the models of the USA army.

In the meanwhile the military-industrial complex asks itself whether drones can be commissioned to kill people on their own authority, on their own ‘Artificial Intelligence’-led estimates. The primary moral reaction of the many is a loud and clear: no! Apparently it feels better when humans kill humans compared to machines doing so. Also guys like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawkins warn against the risk that next generations of drones will become smarter than us, will consequently dominate us and when they decide it is better for them: kill us.

However there are counter-arguments. A drone programmed to kill the enemy but no children and women will kill by the rules more meticulously than soldiers under fire and extreme stress. A drone will also be able to assess rationally, so without interference of human emotions, whether it a good decision to shoot a truck driver fallen asleep, off the road, who is about to crash into a school bus of kids.

The drone age will come with new and complex moral dilemmas. In the meanwhile an American student has already managed to put a gun on a drone. It was meant a stunt but he got arrested. In the meanwhile also future Hezbollah will prefer suicide drones above working with humans who let themselves explode. They will probably call this ‘the big equalizer’ in their fight.

I am not aware of any government already being prepared to fight an invading army of drones with explosives.



An employee at consultancy company McKinsey rewrote part of the company’s Wikipedia pages falsely mentioning himself as its founder. In no time he received an email that his change of texts was rejected and replaced by the right and original one. Ah, Victorious truth! I felt admiration for the army of passionately devoted human beings who manage to detect and correct Wikipedia contributions so sharp and speedily. Alas, my admiration appeared naively romantic. Those zealous humans don’t exist. Bots, automated software programs, are doing the work.

Bots can work hard, but they can lie too. Some years ago one of the biggest advertisers on this planet – Proctor & Gamble – decided to lock away its advertisement activities from television towards the digital media. That seemed wise. You never can tell what target groups  on the couch are watching your contributions to the TV-advertising blocks. Let alone whether they pay attention. On the Net everything is more effective and efficient.

  • You want to reach out exclusively to middle aged men with a love for Pink Floyd and magnificent sound systems? Yes, they can.
  • You want to approach middleclass lesbians, Jewish and in wheel chairs, with a fascination for orchids? Yes, you can.

Thanks to the same software that created the bots. It’s all super sharp and super transparent.

In the meanwhile however P&G has chilled from its love of digital advertising. Sales didn’t increase. Also has been revealed that digital advertising is deploying bots – a lot. When you click on an online advertisement, it is called an impression. It is estimated that about one third of all clicks on these advertisements are done by bots. Which an advertiser of course is not looking for; nevertheless these clicks add up to the ‘viewer’ ratings – for which the advertiser pays. Also when a human being clicks on an advertisement video but immediately surfs on, it counts as “having watched the video”. That is the way the registering bots are programmed.

P&G is back on television, disappointed in the promise of sharpness and transparency, which predominantly turned out to be a lie.


About the author:
Prof. Dr. Carl C.Rohde is a worldwide reputed trend watcher and cultural sociologist who distinguishes himself by his academic depth and by the broad scope of his empirical research projects. Rohde gives lectures and presentations all over the world — both in the academic circuit and in the business circuit.
Besides that, Carl Rohde leads
 www.scienceofthetime.com, a virtual network of market and trend researchers worldwide. Science of the time, is one of the leading trend watch and innovation research institutes worldwide and conducts the biggest international Youth Mentality trend research.
Carl Rohde on Twitter and on Medium.

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