Each year we provide a few highly customized demand generation opportunities to partners and going into our 10th year at CloudTweaks is certainly no different. We are on the lookout for technology vendors to collaborate with on a number of initiatives in 2019. 

Sponsorship opportunities will be available for all budgets and sizes including the (premium) thought leadership exposure program or the webinar, podcast, white paper or explainer video lead generation program. 

John Pientka

Technology whiplash defined: Slaughterbots

Technology whiplash defined: Slaughterbots – AI enhanced drones that could hunt human targets autonomously – It seemed like Sci-Fi then Skydio announced.

The young man is running through the forest trying to escape pursuit. He dodges left, then right, spins and ducks behind a tree but to no avail the drone hunting him is smart. It recognizes his face, gait and clothing, and is relentless and autonomous. There is no one flying it but its own AI with the instructions to always keep him in view.

Sound like the flimsy beginning of a bad sci-fi movie? No, it is a New York Times reporter testing the R1 from Skydio and you can watch it (paywall) here. The company promotes it as a new way to do visual storytelling: “Skydio R1 knows what to film and moves itself with the freedom of flight to get the best shot, letting you capture otherwise impossible videos of your adventures.” Why it’s a flying selfie! Isn’t that great?

Two weeks before the R1 hit the press and unaware of its development, I posted a blog on the “Slaughterbots”, autonomous AI guided drones that could hunt and kill their targets. It too has a striking video produced by the Future of Life Institute. Released in mid November 2017, it has gone viral and at latest check has almost 2.5 Million views.

The reaction my post raised ran from “this is scary” to “you’re full of it, this is sci-fi”. I should not have been surprised. The same kind of debate around could we really make weapons autonomous (no person in the “commit to kill” loop) has been coursing through the press for a while.

Here are some facts. The R1 price is $2,499 – pretty expensive compared to non-autonomous drones at ~$800. It also is a power hog, so much so that it can only fly for 16 minutes. You can get drones that will double that flight time. Finally, it’s pretty big at 13”x16”x1.5” and weighs in at 2.2 pounds. Not quite a flying cookie sheet but nowhere near the tiny palm sized nemesis in the Slaughterbots. It doesn’t seem like we have anything to worry about, right?

Maybe. Here are a few more facts. First, the R1 is built by hand in Silicon Valley – a very expensive way and location for manufacturing. Next, there has been serious VC money behind Skydio for the last four years – the kind that are known for scaling out big things for big returns on their investments. Last, the magic is in the software. All the other stuff: processor, batteries, power efficiency, cameras, etc. are subject to the same dynamic forces that have driven down the prices and upped the performance of any electronic based product.

Paul Scharre, a distinguished policy councilor wrote in the IEEE Spectrum: “I think the fear of lethal micro-drones being used as weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists is not realistic. Smaller scale attacks are certainly possible and, in fact, are already occurring today. These are serious threats and nations should respond accordingly, but I do not see the scenario depicted in the “Slaughterbots” video as plausible.”

Ever hear of Arthur C. Clarke? He was a phenomenal Sci-fi writer and scientist. Clarke promulgated a number of “Laws” throughout his career. Here is his first: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

What do you think the price of an R1 will be by the holiday selling season? How long before the big Chinese competitor, DJI, comes out with something similar or maybe better? Do you think they’ll get smaller and learn to swarm?

While a swarm of Slaughterbots is pretty dramatic the lesson applies everywhere. Look around your office, home or school. It seems like Sci-fi, until it isn’t.

By John Pientka

John Pientka

John is currently the principal of Pientka and Associates which specializes in IT and Cloud Computing.

Over the years John has been vice president at CGI Federal, where he lead their cloud computing division. He founded and served as CEO of GigEpath, which provided communication solutions to major corporations. He has also served as president of British Telecom’s outsourcing arm Syncordia, vice president and general manager of a division at Motorola.

John has earned his M.B.A. from Harvard University as well as a bachelor’s degree from the State University in Buffalo, New York.

View Website


20 Leading Cloud CMS Wordpress Alternatives

20 Leading Cloud CMS WordPress Alternatives

Cloud CMS Wordpress Alternatives Content management systems (CMS) have grown exponentially in recent years. Their number and features have exploded. There are now dozens of cloud CMS Wordpress alternatives for startups and small business. CMS is getting more sophisticated. Website building ...
15 Promising Cloud-Based Video Conferencing Services

15 Promising Cloud-Based Video Conferencing Services

Cloud Video Conferencing Services We have put together a compilation of some of the best cloud based conferencing services for businesses. The cloud video conferencing services market is expected to reach US$ 6.40 Billion by 2020 from the current $3.31 ...
Machine Learning Open-Source Tools

Do More With Machine Learning Thanks to These 6 Open-Source Tools

Machine Learning Open-Source Tools We are in the middle of a machine learning, AI and big data renaissance — at least, that’s what we’re calling it. Seemingly everyone is interested in this technology these days, and for a good reason ...
Top 10 Machine Learning Algorithms

Top 10 Machine Learning Algorithms to Know

Top 10 Machine Learning Algorithms Modern advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are set to change our world for the better. These developments have largely been made possible due to technologies such as cloud sharing, data analytics, blockchain, and improved computing ...
Cloud And Cybersecurity: 5 Things CISOs Need To Consider

Cloud And Cybersecurity: 5 Things CISOs Need To Consider

The Cloud and Cybersecurity Tomorrow’s digital enterprise is at war today. War not only with external cybersecurity hackers and viruses, but also within the organization itself – a conclusion based on my discussions with information security managers and cloud architects ...
Cloud Monitoring and Data Performance Services

Cloud Monitoring and Data Performance Services

CLOUD PERFORMANCE MONITORING These services will accompany you in monitoring and safeguarding your data, critical applications and websites in real-time. This resource list is in no particular order of preference. CA Technologies New York based CA Technologies offers software solutions and ...


Infosec thought leaders

Cryptocurrencies and Ransomware: How VDI Can Help Defend Against the Next Ransomware Attack

Cryptocurrencies and Ransomware The WannaCry ransomware made headlines back in May when it crippled hospitals across the UK and put ...
Matthew Cleaver

Dispelling the Myths of Cloud Solutions for the Small Business

Dispelling the Myths of Cloud Solutions As a business leader, migrating to the cloud can be overwhelming due to the ...
Everyone Has Data, but the Ones Who Can Optimize It Will Be the Winners

Everyone Has Data, but the Ones Who Can Optimize It Will Be the Winners

Big Data Strategies Data is ubiquitous, but success apparently isn’t. Companies using big data strategies are running headlong into an 85 ...
The Democratization of Business Software Technology

The Democratization of Business Software Technology

Democratization of Software Advances in the cloud have changed the way we interact with the world. From how we pay ...
Will 2018 Be the Year Augmented Reality Moves Outside ‘Pokémon Go’?

Will 2018 Be the Year Augmented Reality Moves Outside ‘Pokémon Go’?

2018 Augmented Reality If you’ve never heard of “Pokémon Go” — or at least never had the concept explained to ...
Combatting Malware in the Cloud Requires a New Way of Thinking

Combatting Malware in the Cloud Requires a New Way of Thinking

Malware in the Cloud It’s no secret that cloud adoption has exploded in the enterprise over last few years. However, ...

How to Avoid Becoming Another Cloud Security Statistic

Cloud Security Statistic Last year, Gartner predicted that, by 2020, 95 percent of all cloud security failures will be caused ...