Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
Drones are in the newspaper, on the TV screen, swarming through the networks, and soon, we're told, they'll be delivering our shopping. But what are drones? The word encompasses everything from toys to weapons. And yet, as broadly defined as they are, the word “drone” fills many of us with a sense of technological dread. Adam Rothstein cuts through the mystery, the unknown, and the political posturing, and talks about what drones really are: what technologies are out there, and what’s coming next; how drones are talked about, and how they are represented in popular culture.
It turns out that drones are not as scary as they appear—but they are more complicated than you might expect. Drones reveal the strange relationships that humans are forming with their new technologies.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 197 g
Dimensions: 165 x 121 mm
Adam Rothstein’s primer on drones covers such themes … as the representation of drones in science fiction and popular culture. The technological aspects are covered in detail, and there is interesting discussion of the way in which our understanding of technology is grounded in historical narratives. As Rothstein writes, the attempt to draw a boundary between one technology and another often ignores the fact that new technologies are not quite as new as we think.
Readers interested in technology and/or warfare will very much enjoy reading Drone… Adam Rothstein did an admirable job, writing about every aspect of drones in detailed and organized fashion… [T]hose keenly interested in the subject will gobble this up.
[Rothstein's] book is a rich collection of vignettes about how to imagine and comprehend the drone ... [Drone] really excels in tackling the multiple meanings, symbols, and narratives attached to drones, all of which provide a bird’s eye view (drone’s eye view?) of the terrain of contemporary debate ... for those beginning a research project, or just the curious, this small book packs a big punch.
Adam Rothstein's Drone presents this iconic figure of contemporary warfare-the disconcertingly alluring autonomous airborne machine-through the lens of a different kind of history. Privacy and tracking algorithms run side by side with the ethics of self-guided munitions, activist political programs butt heads with emerging corporate business strategies, and all of it is tied back to the earliest experiments in driverless vehicles, quaint ancestors of today's over-mythologized UAVs. In the end, Rothstein's book is an exploration of technical agency: Where did drones come from-and what do they want?
This lucid, visionary work is as close as one can get to science fiction without the baggage of science and/or fiction. Adam Rothstein's Drone will be a wonderful cultural artifact in twenty years. It will be like a broken pomegranate of contemporary speculations and anxieties.
Portland writer and artist Adam Rothstein’s contribution to Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series digs into the history and meaning of autonomous aircraft—the ways they work, the tasks they perform, where they come from, and how the way we talk about them reflects the priorities and anxieties of our age.
Adam Rothstein’s Drone test[s] the water on what this technology might yet prove to be as it is successively explored and its limits and possibilities (military and civilian) discovered. What shall drones be?