I’ve enjoyed Mark Rober’s videos for a while now. They are fun, touch on accessible topics, and have decent production value. But this recent video isn’t sitting right with me

The video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrGENEXocJU

In it, he talks about a few techniques for how to take down “bad guy drones”, the problems with each, and then shows off the drone tech by Anduril as a solution.


Anduril aims to sell the U.S. Department of Defense technology, including artificial intelligence and robotics. Anduril’s major products include unmanned aerial systems (UAS), counter-UAS (CUAS), semi-portable autonomous surveillance systems, and networked command and control software.

In the video, the Anduril product is a heavy drone that uses kinetic energy to destroy other drones (by flying into them). Quoting the person in the video:

imagine a children’s bowling ball thrown at twice as fast as a major league baseball fastball, that’s what it’s like getting hit by Anvil

This technology is scary for obvious reasons, especially in the wrong hands. What I also don’t like is how Mark Rober’s content is aimed at children, and this video includes a large segment advertising the children’s products he is selling. Despite that, he is promoting military technology with serious ethical implications.

There’s even a section in the video where they show off the Roadrunner, compare it against the patriot missiles, and loosely tie it in to defending against drones. While the Anvil could be used to hurt people, at least it is designed for small flying drones. The Roadrunner is not:

The Roadrunner is a 6 ft (1.8 m)-long twin turbojet-powered delta-winged craft capable of high subsonic speeds and extreme maneuverability. Company officials describe it as somewhere between an autonomous drone and a reusable missile. The basic version can be fitted with modular payloads such as intelligence and reconnaissance sensors. The Roadrunner-M has an explosive warhead to intercept UAS, cruise missiles, and manned aircraft.

  • kent_eh
    3 months ago

    I don’t know how I feel about pitching anti-terror or war machines to children through the lens of, “Engineering is cool!” That said, there are many more examples of that pitch out in the world in other forms.

    Kids have been sold military toys since forever. GI Joe, tin soldiers, toy guns, toy armor and swords, model kits of tanks and fighter aircraft…