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From Navy Fighter Pilot to Drone Advocate, Meet Missy Cummings

Image of Duke Professor Missy Cummings, drone advocate and expert.
Missy Cummings

This is a rebroadcast from November 3, 2014. To visit the original post click here.


Although the word drone may at first evoke an image of a stealth killing machine, the work of Mary 'Missy' Cummingsproves drones are much more than that initial thought. 

Cummings directs the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University, where she builds interfaces for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and studies the social and ethical implications of technological advancement. She believes that UAVs have the potential to dramatically impact industries like agriculture and medicine as well as the commercial sector. 

Cummings started researching the relationship between humans and technology after spending 10 years in the military. She was one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, but her experience witnessing many colleagues die in preventable accidents encouraged her to devote her career to bettering and advancing our technology. Cummings recently helped a national task force develop recommendations for US Drone Policy. Host Frank Stasio talks to Cummings about her life and work.

Watch Missy Cummings on the Colbert Report in 2011:

The Colbert Report
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Cummings was also featured on The Daily Show in 2013:

The Daily Show
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Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.