The Future vs the FAA. No Hoverboards

• ~200 words • 0.9 minute read

This morning I received a reminder email from United Airlines about my impending flight(s) to Belgrade tomorrow. I immediately noticed two things:

  1. My flight leaves at about 8am tomorrow. Not 8pm like I had in my head. That will somewhat impact the trajectory of my day as I have a lot of work to wrap, a lot of laundry to wash and a lot of things to pack.

  2. This little notice was at the top of my email:

Notice regarding hoverboards
Please note that in the interest of safety for our customers and employees, we do not accept hoverboards as checked or carry-on baggag

Though completely sensible, it made me think about the cat-and-mouse game that tech and gadgets tend to play with aviation rules. Computers, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, e-cigarettes, etc.

Amusingly less clear to me: can you bring a drone on a plane? What about a Roomba?

I look forward to the eventual regulation of personal robot assistants. I'm also growing more and more comfortable with the idea that Terminator's Judgement Day scenario will never happen, because by the time we get to building killer sentient robots they're almost certainly going to have an airplane mode we can switch on from our phones.