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June 09, 2015
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This past weekend the Chinese education ministry unleashed a drone over testing sites hoping to detect cheating through wireless devices. It's also been a fearful reminder that in a few short years we will all be owned by robots.

chiand rone .jpg

via Dong Lifei/ImagineChina

If you’re a teen in China, you’re going to start seeing drones in more places than just three-day music festivals. This past Sunday the Chinese education ministry released the first drone used to monitor and detect possible cheating on college entrance exams. The Chinese college entrance exams take place over three days and in recent years the country has seen a rise in fraudulent test taking, with 23 people arrested since late May. The idea is that the drones can be used to detect cheating through wireless devices brought into the testing centers. If caught, cheaters can be barred from taking the test for up to 3 years.

The six-propeller drone, which costs up to roughly $10,000 has yet to catch any cheaters, but has fulfilled its secondary function: to instill a fear and respect of flying robots in the hearts of millions of college bound teens.

While we were not granted permission to reprint the exam’s essay questions, we did talk to some test takers and have an idea of a few of the prompts. We’ve listed them below.

  • Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Then describe how a robot would have solved that problem more efficiently and better, rendering you useless and ineffective.
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Why would you make the same decision even though you knew that challenging the order of drones and propagating anti-drone disinformation meant life in bot-prison?
  • List your favorite things about androids.
  • Is it always essential to tell the truth, or are there circumstances in which it is better to lie? Remember that as you write this essay, a drone is hovering above you, recording your every move.
  • Is it possible to maintain conflicting loyalties? For example, you have dedicated your life to promoting a drone-supremacist sovereignty, which requires you to end your human life, but you are also a human who would like to live. Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, and duty to uphold Drone Law.
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