The Darkside of Our Drone Future: Lessons from History

Thursday, June 4, 2020
Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Image credit: 

Much like in war, drones can take the place of a human on dangerous frontlines. During the COVID-19 crisis, drones have been used to resupply the vulnerable populations, help enforce lockdowns, screen people’s temperature, and deep clean a nation’s streets.  Predictably, policymakers and manufactures have pushed to relax restrictions to allow the rapid rollout of robotic technologies. Drawing on historical and contemporary examples of drone ‘misuse’, this talk explores the kinetic, biological, chemical and information security threats posed by drone technologies. Despite the newfound utility of the drone, there are real dangers to rapid relaxation and mass roll-out of drone technology at this time.

James Rogers is DIAS Assistant Professor in War Studies, within the Centre for War Studies, at SDU, and Associate Fellow within LSE IDEAS, at the London School of Economics. He is currently Special Advisor to the UK Parliament's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, Special Advisor to the United Nations on state and non-state weapons development, and a UK MoD Defence Opinion Leader. He has previously been a Visiting Research Fellow at Stanford, Yale, and Oxford.



This talk is part of the History Working Group Seminar Series. A central piece of the History Working Group is the seminar series, which is hosted in partnership with the Hoover Library & Archives. The seminar series was launched in the fall of 2019, and thus far has included six talks from Hoover research fellows, visiting scholars, and Stanford faculty. The seminars provide outside experts with an opportunity to present their research and receive feedback on their work. While the lunch seminars have grown in reputation, they have been purposefully kept small in order to ensure that the discussion retains a good seminar atmosphere.

Upcoming Events