Jun 07 2012

The Drone Djinn Is Out Of The Bottle


It is the year 2014.

An unknown organization or group in the US assembles a fairly sophisticated drone from toy and radio shack parts. It’s basicly a smart “semi-controlled” RC helicopter with robot parts latched on. Nobody ever claims responsibility for this first act of weaponizing a private drone and even in 2020 nobody knows who started this ANON-ization of private drone vigilantism.

The first such device has a battery life of several hours and might easily mount a single high calibre rifle, a tampering proof directional communications beam, a smart programming (that gives it simple self-preservation ‘behaviour’ in case contact with base station is lost) and a HD camera.

This device takes to the air at an altitude that is largely inconspicuous to law enforcement and official authorities. The total construct is available online and costs less than 5000$, and is relatively easy with a mix of mail ordered and 3D printed parts.

Early models of this devices in 2014 are used to monitor and record law enforcement activities. Of course authorities are in a state of severe alarm about this sousveillance! Very soon after most law enforcement, security and intelligence officials in the US become indexed on non-US (and completely unaccountable) web sites outside the US. US law enforcement and intelligence communities (as well as organized crime, corporate security, mercenary forces who become likewise exposed and scrutinized) are in a state of disarray as their faces and biometric data because subject to constant public scrutiny.

The US state tries to crackdown against these “acts of domestic terrorism”, to no avail. Attempts are made to extradite those responsible for the non-US publications, to no avail. Those in charge can’t even find out who the hell is doing this documentation. As early of 2015 hundreds of thousands of police officers, IAD officers, FBI, NSA, CIA, immigration, narcotics, government, shills, politicians, military, seals, secret service, army intelligence, ATF etc etc agents are charted. The lest then expands to foreigners, chinese, russian, mossad, and so forth. In mere months the listing expands exponentially.

In 2015 the first confirmed vigilante kill occurs – a NY police officer found violently raping a teenage girl is shot through the head by one of these devices during the act. The device itself or those responsible is never retrieved, despite a national and international man hunt that burns through tens of millions of US dollars.

The act itself is recorded in HD format and publicized real time, causing massive riots and protest throughout the western world. The video of the rape and summary execution is called “collareral vigilantism” and watched by billions world-wide. Police officers ( are held to close scrutiny by common people and met with outright hostility for months as a result, and vigilante killings of ‘feral cops’ become commonplace. In 2016 a full 300 “feral cops” are shot or wounded, many while committing these crimes and in the years following this incident a virtual ecology of garage drones take to the skies, or crawl on top of buildings.

By 2018 the number of private (rogue, vigilante, occupy, anon, terrorist, protest, copwatch, private blogger, journalist, etc) drones outnumber official drones about 20 to 1. By 2018 these drones become as small as a matchbox, can crawl in to homes with miniature appendages, are smart, camera equipped and many are deadly. These devices are then used to steal, burglarize, assassinate, spy, record video, hack home computers, read credit cards, blackmail, poison, spread diseases, troll, stalk, sexually predate on and far far worse.

By 2018 the authorities wish they never started this horrendous drone arms race. But nobody gives a flying hoot about what they think any more.

Nov 13 2011

Eyes Never Sleep: Occupying Singularity


1. Teevee Light

We live in a post-panopticon culture, and everybody’s watching.  Occupiers watch bankers, bankers watch farmers.  Farmers watch their crops in infrared.

We all watch: that’s the active media myth we see played out daily.  The same basketball game, the same GigaOM Post, the same Funny or Die short, the same #hashtag:  we are all watching it together, even if in separate rooms.

But this is a gross oversimplification, and in it we must look at an important nuance: even if we were looking at the same stuff, would we be watching?  To watch requires attention.  But attention is lacking: we’re all surfing, tweeting, bitching, and twitching inattentively.  Spastically.  Our minds are crashing on media moments like Aquafina bottles from the Pacific Trash Vortex rolling up onto the sunbathed Southern tip of Papa‘apoho.  Our attention bifurcates on shoals of Kardashian.

We don’t watch anything.  We just look at shit.

2. The Transhuman Toehold in the Present = The Advent of Sousveillance.

In my former town (DFW, NoTx), cameras are everywhere.  Many or most traffic intersections have surveillance cameras, even those without photo-enforcement.  Of course they’re all over private properties, government buildings, and official vehicles.  It seemed to happen suddenly.  Sometime over the last five years, while I was zipping along on the Interstate switching the radio from left to right to NPR, the cameras blossomed.  We’d been warned that it was coming.  But who pulled that trigger?  I wondered whether to call the mayor, the sheriff, my state representative… Then I got busy moving to the Middle East.

You want to do surveillance right?  The UAE gets it on properly.  Few cops on the road here — it’s all done with auto-cameras and radar boxes every klick or so.  If you are in the public square (or in the cracks between), you’re probably being recorded.  Your antagonists, your allies: all record it all on phones.

Even now, it seems that the surest way to mitigate state/corporate surveillance is sousveillance. The Arab Spring (and it’s descendant Occupy Wall Street actions) taught us a lot about “state gaze.”  And we do know that when we stare back and do not blink, we can (when winds are are with us) muscle into formerly denied cognitive space.  We can occupy the panopticon.

3. Flash Mob Head Space Eats Time

Grant Morrison made a comment (at Disinfo Con back in 2000)  to the effect that the more cameras the government puts up, the more weirdly we all act — because we have more opportunities to perform more and more wildly in more and more unexpected places.  How weird can we act before we really, truly, become the strangeness we perform?  And how strange can we become, in this odd dance with media and technology, before we flit into Singularity with a joke, a faux pas, a cliche, a gesture of wrist or skirt or riding boot?

If the Singularity eats the state, the corporation, the ego, and all economies (as some suppose it may be able to — or must necessarily do), we find the continual pressure of state/corporate gaze pushing us into revealing ourselves as Dancers at the End of Time. When we become posthuman, such state structures are obviated entirely.

So… they watch and we watch, We act out and we get weird, and weird gets us.  We merge with the watchers and the media by which the watching gets done.

We become the sci-fi fictions we create for their cameras.

Then it all floats away like a dandelion seed on a stiff breeze, just as we thought the denoument was gonna bring us down.  It comes like a thief in the night.

We blow “the past” a kiss, our last blush of artifice as performers before this Future we’re flirting with becomes terribly and totally Real.

And we then begin to occupy reality.

Woody Evans writes books and stories and essays. He’s from Mississippi.