Meet the new selfie: Personal drone video

May 14, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

So what happens when I throw my personal me-filming video drone up in the air and start walking, and you throw your personal video drone into the air and start skipping down the street, and we perchance fast approach one another and our eyes lock and bodies tingle and we stop and chat and hey, our drones are floating just up there, filming our every interaction, burning through their batteries as we mingle and dance?

What happens then? Will our drones swap phone numbers for us? Check our Facebook profiles for a match? Blink maniacally and catch on fire and let out a piercing scream if there is/isn’t one? I mean, shouldn’t they?

See those cute little “eyes”? And the cute name? Do you feel reassured?

See those cute little “eyes”? And the cute name? Do you feel reassured?

What happens when I toss my personal, follow-along Lily drone into the air and then, say, go for a little drive? What happens when the kids thinks it’s funny to attach the drone’s tracker beacon to the dog? What happens if you’re cross-country droning out in gun country and some drunk hunter blasts your Lily personal drone with a shotgun, thinking it was a pheasant? Do you have grounds to publicly shame him on Blast him with a laser?

How many personal drones will it take to film every angle of Kim Kardashian walking to her car? Won’t it be cool when you can film yourself running down the beach in slow motion and then watch in horror as your $500 drone gets pounced upon by furious seagulls? What happens when your drone won’t stop chasing you, ever, following you into the dark corners of your dreams? Didn’t Philip K. Dick predict all of this, somehow, in far more ominous ways, decades back?

These and oh, so many more are the immediate ponderables as we witness the awkward birth of a new level of narcissism (meta-narcissism? Ur-narcissism?) via this adorable new personal surveillance toy called the Lily, because cute names make creepy things sound harmless and fun when in fact they’re actually not a little bit disconcerting in ways we can’t even fathom just yet, because technology.

Seen the Lily yet? It is, indeed, just what it is: a personal, controller-less, video-taking, toss-it-up-and-it-follows-you-everywhere drone, invented by some very young, very local (Berkeley) dudes and invested in by some VC hotshots, a pricy toy which floats above you as you go about your whatever, filming your every police confrontation, outdoor sex romp (drone porn! Sort of NSFW beautiful, really), carjacking, lawn dart bingo game, drunken poolside stunt, marriage vows riot footage suicidal bridge jump orgiastic naked trapeze Burning Man horseback riding hula hoop hot coals conflagration.

What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong?

Or rather, it follows a beacon around, taking 1080p video of whatever that beacon is attached to – you, your terrified cat, your wailing toddler, your ex wife, the roof of your car, a bike, a cop, a baffled pelican, another drone, the Secret Service, you name it.

Can you foresee what’s coming? How this might mutate and churn? How long will it take until everyone’s sick of seeing your drone video of yourself jumping on a trampoline or running through the woods or taking that killer mogul on your snowboard, bro?

How long until we all find ourselves just standing there, pinned to the ground in psychotic wonder, staring up at our drones looking back at us, each recording the other’s blank stare, drone meets drone and Void meets Void, no longer able to remember which is which and why it ever mattered, until we die?

Read more here:: Meet the new selfie: Personal drone video

Mark Morford

About Mark Morford