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Pew: Public divided on whether drones, surveillance, conflict in Afghanistan keep Americans safe

Drones have been the topic of many headlines this year, and a new poll shows that Americans are not completely convinced military drones help keep the country safe.

Pew Research Center recently released a poll as part of its America’s Place in the World survey, conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 6, that asked Americans if they believed military drones, government surveillance and the war in Afghanistan kept Americans safer from terrorists.

Out of the 2,003 adults surveyed, 50 percent said military drones that targeted extremists overseas has made the United States safer from attacks, while 27 percent said the measure has not made the country any safer. Fourteen percent of those polled said the use of military drones makes the United States less safe from attacks, Pew reported.

Although half of Americans were in favor of military drones, the approval rating for the effectiveness of other national security measures, like phone and Internet surveillance programs and the war in Afghanistan, received mixed reviews, according to the survey. Only 39 percent said government surveillance programs made the United States safer, and 38 percent said they made no difference.

In regards to the war in Afghanistan, 43 percent said the 12-year conflict has had no difference in protecting the United States from terrorists, with 31 percent saying the war made the country safer and 21 percent countering that it made the country less safe.

Although the use of military drones has long been debates, recently, the use of a different type of drone came into the limelight and was greeted with mixed reviews.

Amazon announced on Dec. 1 that the company was working on developing a new method of delivery called Prime Air, where packages would be delivered to home via an unmanned aircraft. The company reported that the initiative is still in production and will take years before it hits the mainstream.

Google also reported last week the company was in the process of developing a new type of robot that could be automated to help with product manufacturing in an effort to potentially compete with Amazon. According to BBC News, if the manufacturing robots were ever developed to assist in product delivery, it could directly compete with Amazon's Prime Air.

“This is a clear sign that days of personalized robotic technology entering the mainstream market is imminent,” Prof Sethu Vijayakumar, director of the Robotics Lab at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC.


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