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"We are all repositories for genetically-encoded information that we're all spreading back and forth amongst each other, all the time. We're just lousy with information."
- Neal Stephenson

Robot Tracking Device  
  Small UAV robot remotely operated by an artificially intelligent computer.  

Vulcan 3, an underground self-modifying supercomputer, uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to find out what's going on with the humans.

On the chest of drawers something was perched. Something that gleamed, shiny metal, gleamed and clicked as it turned toward her. She saw into two glassy mechanical lenses, something with a tubelike body, the size of a child's bat, shot upward and swept toward her.
From Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Ace Books in 1960
Additional resources -

Take a look at what artists in 1960 thought a robot tracking device looked like in this first edition cover photo:

The same device attacked the leader of the resistance movement:

"...I found most of it." He triumphantly displayed a charred but still intact metal cylinder with an elaborate system of antennas, receptors and propulsion jets.

Here's what it feels like to live in this future society:

Madness, he thought. The ultimate horror for our paranoid culture; vicious unseen mechanical entities that flit at the edges of our vision, that can go anywhere, that are in our very midst. And there may be an unlimited number of them. One of them following each of us...

The existence of these devices is one demonstration of Vulcan 3's paranoia; ordinarily, it relied on countless human beings who provided it with information. Dick compares the provision of data to Vulcan 3 with slopping a hog - he refers to "data troughs."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Vulcan's Hammer
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Vulcan's Hammer
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Robot Tracking Device-related news articles:
  - Draganflyer X6 Helicopter Has HD Camera
  - Aggressive Autonomous Quadrotor UAV Makes Its Moves
  - Perching Flying Robot
  - Wasp Micro-UAV Used By Texas SWAT
  - Rolling Robot's Helicopter Transformation
  - sFly UAVs Swarm Together For SAR
  - EASE Surveillance Robot Hovering Near You
  - Google's Project Wing Will Find You
  - Flying Robot Has An Arm

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