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Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy

Abstract

A marquis product in a high-end, U.S.-based electronics store’s holiday catalog has as its description:

Anyone can give a video game. Yours can fly. Give them the power of military-grade flight technology that creates an augmented reality gaming environment complete with virtual air-to-air missiles, interactive targeting systems and fiery explosions. Now, how cool is that? (Brookstone, 2011a, p. 3)

The advertisement shows the Parrot Ar.Drone, what looks very much like a concept model of a drone bomber and a clean-cut young white man controlling it via his iPad while two young women adoringly rest their heads on his shoulders and watch him “play.” As the company’s website claims, the drone’s “augmented reality turns the world around you into a game” (Brookstone, 2011b). Despite its popular appeal, the Parrot Ar.Done has some drawbacks. According to the review page on the company’s website, a self-described “high-end shopper” does not like the expensive shipping for drone repairs. Another self-described shopper, this time a “budget shopper,” does not appreciate the short battery life and would like the company to produce a convenient tote bag to take the drone on family car trips. To this criticism, a “parent” shopper, concerned as any parent would be about his/her child’s peace of mind and developmental needs, suggests to simply purchase a “gaggle of extra batteries” to “enjoy this thing for hours.” And, yet, another drone user does not like the “sometimes quirky behavior” of this military-grade toy. Serious problems, indeed—especially the “sometimes quirky behavior” of military-grade technologies (Brookstone, 2011b).

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