AIRLab Exploratory Survey
Welcome to the AIRLab Exploratory Survey! This survey is designed to help us on the AIRLab working group learn more about how we relate to drones in academia, how we might deploy them in research and pedagogy, how we can critique them as subjects of inquiry, and how we can use what we've learned to advise on drone policies at our institutions and in our communities. All questions are open-ended, and if you'd like to elaborate on anything, you're welcome to write Jeffrey Moro at jmoro [at] smith dot edu. Your responses are completely confidential, and we appreciate you directing colleagues and friends our way!
—The AIRLab Working Group
Getting to Know You
What's your name?
We won't share any of your responses beyond the working group without your expressed permission.
I am a
Mount Holyoke College
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Let's start with some word association. When you think about drones, what are some words or phrases that come to mind?
We'll use these answers to develop tags for our site and social media.
What kinds of past experiences, if any, have you had with drones? This might encompass using them in your capacity as a researcher, discussing them in the classroom, reading about them in the news, etc.
It could also be interesting to hear about past experiences you've had with other kinds of robotics or flight systems.
Drones as Tools
What applications can we imagine for drones as research or creative tools?
Western media conjures images of drones as tools either of surveillance or warfare. A large part of our project is to imagine, and think of how to implement, a wider variety of creative applications for drones (and potential other kinds of robotics) in academia. How might you imagine using drones in your own work now, or in ideas you have for the future? Would you use them as research tools? In creative endeavors? Any and all ideas are exciting and welcome.
If you've used drones in your work in the past, how have you found that they've aided or magnified your research? If you've not used drones, but have considered them, what advantages do you imagine that they would lend your work?
Conversely, how have you found (or imagined) drones to *detract* from your work? What might drone-driven research miss, or gloss over, and what tools would you use to supplement those gaps?
Drones and Us
What are the critical, pedagogical, and ethical stakes for human-drone interaction? And more generally, how do the ways that we relate to drones gesture towards larger questions of human-robot interactions?
In general terms, how would you describe your relationship to drones? What kinds of emotions or physical experiences do they provoke in you? How would you describe your affective relationship with drones?
In particular, are there specific experiences or things you've viewed/heard/read that crystallized or complicated these feelings?
As we discussed in our first meeting, many times some of the most interesting considerations of human-robot interaction come from science fiction. Are there any particular creative works that have inspired your thinking on drones, whether or not they take drones as their primary subject? And in what way?
(You're also welcome to share non-science-fiction, or even nonfiction!)
Our first meeting touched on a wide variety of questions drones raise, including ones of aesthetics, affect, and embodiment; of property, territoriality, and land/air rights; of moral and ethical responsibilities we face as drone designers and pilots; of how drones point to larger military or technological histories; and how the metaphors and language we use to talk about drones circumscribe particular political arrangements and viewpoints. Out of all of this, a simple question: what are you most interested in critically investigating over the next few months?
Drones and Institutions
Finally, how might a space like the AIRLab begin to address some of the questions above?
Part of our work this summer will be to begin the work of imagining how the AIRLab might function, and what kinds of tools it should host. Assuming infinite time and resources, what is your dream vision for a space like the AIRLab?
In whatever your capacity (as a teacher, student, researcher, artist, community member, legislator, parent, etc.), what are some ways you'd like to use a space like the AIRLab?
Okay, so unfortunately we *don't* have infinite time or resources. With that in mind, what's the one thing, more than any other, that you'd like to see in the AIRLab?
This could be as physically specific as certain kinds of equipment, sensors, or projectors, or as ephemeral as workshops, events, or a dedicated community.
This survey was only a touch of the questions we'll address in the months to come, and as such I'm sure to have left things out. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
You're also welcome to contact me directly at
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