RELEASE: Open Technology Institute Launches 'Drone U'

Public Education Platform Focuses on Implications of Drone Technology
Published:   July 9, 2013

Washington, DC — The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute [OTI] today announced the launch of Drone U, a public education platform focused on the social, legal, and philosophical implications of drone technology. Drone U seeks to go beyond the headlines to provide a deeper understanding of how this technology is affecting and will continue to affect lives.

Drone U resources, available on www.droneu.org, will feature short podcasts from a broad base of commenters drawing on expertise in law, industry, privacy, history, military affairs, civil liberties, philosophy, and technology. Each 10 to 20 minute podcast will introduce an area in which drone technology will have an impact and conclude with ideas on what our impending drone future might look like.
 
"The time is clearly right for a deeper dialogue about how the proliferation of aerial robotic vehicles will affect our society in areas as diverse as agriculture, warfare, commerce, and privacy," said OTI Director and New America Vice President Sascha Meinrath. "We are only just beginning to see the impact of this technology, and it is important to have an open discussion on how we can shape the role that drones will play in our future to ensure our privacy, freedoms and safety are prioritized."
 
Drone U currently features an introduction from P.W. Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, as well as comments on drone journalism from professor and former journalist Matt Waite, and drone surveillance from Amie Stepanovitch, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center's Domestic Surveillance Project. New content will be added regularly with upcoming speakers including Electronic Frontier Foundation Activist Trevor Timm on privacy and Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International President Michael Toscano on the economic impact of drones. In addition to the presentations, Drone U will foster debate and dialogue by engaging participants in the debate over drone technology via twitter and other social media.
 
Drone U was created by Timothy Reuter, founder of the DC Area Drone User Group, an association that seeks to promote the use of flying robots for humanitarian, artistic, and recreational purposes, and Nabiha Syed, creator of the Drone List, a premier forum for the exchange of news and ideas about drones run out of Stanford University.
 
"We were frustrated that much of the current coverage of drones in the media was narrowly focused or sensationalistic,” Reuter said. “Our goal is to collect ideas from a diverse range of leading thinkers and practitioners in this field and provide a holistic perspective on the implications of this technology.”
 
“We chose to use brief podcasts as our medium because we want to make this platform accessible to as wide an audience as possible," added Syed.

Each new release of podcasts will be announced on OTI’s website, oti.newamerica.net, and on Future Tense, a partnership between Slate, Arizona State University, and the New America Foundation. Drone U will also include a number of other learning materials, including a "syllabus" of important reference materials, and a map of state-based drone legislation. Drone U will also highlight panels, conferences, and other events of note on its site.  
 
To visit Drone U, click here.

To interview one of New America's experts, please contact Clara Hogan.

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