On Thursday, July 29th at 6:00pm Warwick's will host Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick as he discusses his new book, The Good Drone: How Social Movements Democratize Surveillance, in conversation with Danny Freeman. Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, PhD, is a professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. He is the author of What Slaveholders Think, co-author of Drones for Good, and co-editor of From Human Trafficking to Human Rights. His work focuses on politics, culture, technology, and social change. Choi-Fitzpatrick is a concurrent associate professor of social movements and human rights at the University of Nottingham’s School of Sociology and Social Policy. Danny Freeman is an Emmy-winning political reporter for NBC San Diego, and the Host of NBC 7’s Sunday political show, Politically Speaking. He has worked at MSNBC, NBC News Decision Desk, and NBC Nightly News, travelling to over 40 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. / Mexico border and the Vatican, covering politicians including President Trump, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. This a free virtual event on Facebook Live.
Drones are famous for doing bad things: weaponized, they implement remote-control war; used for surveillance, they threaten civil liberties and violate privacy. In The Good Drone, Choi-Fitzpatrick examines a different range of uses: the deployment of drones for the greater good. Choi-Fitzpatrick analyzes the way small-scale drones—as well as satellites, kites, and balloons—are used for a great many things, including documenting human rights abuses, estimating demonstration crowd size, supporting anti-poaching advocacy, and advancing climate change research.
Choi-Fitzpatrick's broader point is that the use of technology by social movements goes beyond social media—and began before social media. From the barricades in Les Misérables to hacking attacks on corporate servers to the spread of #MeToo on Twitter, technology is used to raise awareness, but is also crucial in raising the cost of the status quo. New technology in the air changes politics on the ground, and raises provocative questions along the way. Working at the leading edge of an emerging technology, Choi-Fitzpatrick takes a broad view, suggesting social change efforts rely on technology in new and unexpected ways.