“Drones” – the high concept movie that might be too close for comfort.

droneby Don McCullough

My Drone Book/Movie (If I wrote one)
[Via Global Guerrillas]

If I did write a near future, CGI thriller about drones, here’s my back of the envelope sketch of the plot. It’s definitely a movie plot, and not real.  That means it is meant to be over the top.

If you aren’t interested in an autonomous weapons disaster story, please disregard.


Start.  An Israeli drone hunter/killer op, run out of a converted trailer in the desert.  Drone IDs a target in urban area.  At risk of losing target, the drone “tags” target (microdots).  Target disappears inside building, and begins to into large, sprawling tenement, doesn’t emerge.  Call in “mother hen” delivery system full of “chick” ground drones for search and destroy mission inside the complex.  They are flown in, inserted, and enter the complex.  Target is IDed several floors/walls away but appears to be on the run and deploying counter-measures to spoof ground drones.  

Target is intermittent and numerous ghosts appear intermittently.  All are moving.  The ground drones swarm, moving in a pattern that would encircle the target within the complex.   Probability calculation for primary target is over threshold (80%), so the order is given to swarm to go lethal.  Moments later the target drops a series of effective counter measures and blows through a wall into a corridor that allows a fast transient out of area.  Comms with the swarm is lost.  Since the swarm already has the green light on the target (not uncommon, but frustrating in the terminal phase of a misison), it continues on mission.  Drones, confused by the new counter-measures and out of comms with the team, begin to see targets everywhere.  They clear an entire tenement of 1000 + people, exit the complex and depart.  

News emerges on social media feeds.  Wireless and Internet nodes are brought down in area to slow media upload.  To hide the mission failure, a drone is called in to blow up the evidence.  Explosion trumps other info.  The incident is lost in the noise within a couple of days.

Few people know about this logic flaw.  No lesson learned.


The rest of the idea is a pretty sweet  action movie, demonstrating both a world in the panopticon, where security ‘requires’ autonomous drones in urban settings, and one with rampant mobile communication, hacking etc.

The scary thing is that drones do not only have to be in the air. Ground drones will probably be the most ubiquitous in a city. Easier to hide.

I wonder if Faraday cages will be illegal? In an authoritarian future, they would seem to be perceived as only of use to terrorists. So booster bags could become more important for protection.

Nice demonstration of how our fear of terror creates a terrifying world. I’d pay to see this movie.