Join The–Dots

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Andrew Rae will need to approve that you worked on “THE SOFTER SIDE OF DRONES” before we add you as a collaborator.


Since their introduction, drones have changed everything. They’ve made our world smaller and more visible. They’ve revolutionized warfare and intelligence, providing access to corners of the globe that have been overlooked or previously unimpenetrable. Significantly, they’ve changed the way we interact with our enemies, creating a way to survey or attack them in ways that put none of our human forces at risk. This particular shade of change has inspired debate over the dangers of these machines, casting a shadow of unease over the technology as a whole.
Drones are precise in their abilities: flying, seeing, and sometimes, killing.
But the technology has opened up so much more. Like any technology with severe capabilities, given proper calibration it can make way for advances previously untouched.
In New York Magazine’s “Drones and Every Thing After,” Benjamin Wallace-Wells shows off what’s troubling about the technology and the more civil places it has gone since being redefined. Drones are now being used to help track the farming of produce, film weddings, and even perform along with dance troops (in Japan, obviously). They are now consumer products, like toys, almost like pets. New York Magazine needed to bring in that personable element, so they decided to add a delightful illustrated element and grabbed Andrew Rae to help them build some affinity. As Chris Cristiano, from Department of Visuals at New York Magazine, says, “Andrew’s ability to create these fun robots that even have a little bit of personality to each one sort of fit perfectly.”
For the eight-page spread, Andrew created dozens of illustrations for the piece in a touching anthropomorphic style. We see drones that are cheerily capturing video, acting as a helipad for pigeons, drumming away on themselves, or serving martinis and tacos. Large machines help to protect and serve, even delivering packages, while a swarm of smaller drones have a stratospheric party. Andrew reminds us that drones are tools to be used by their controllers however they’re needed. So he provided us with some folks at the controls, watching their high-powered toys do the work they were made to do.

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