By Amy Chin
Technology and Innovation Editor
While the media obsesses over each move of the big tech companies, smaller tech startups fill in niche markets with just as quickly progressing technology. Palmer Luckey, a previous employee in Facebook’s virtual reality division, launched new defense startup Anduril Industries. Producing hardware that combines innovative virtual reality technology with machine learning, Anduril offers a surveillance package suitable for national defense. Installing this technology already on the Southern U.S. border, Anduril is just one of many companies offering cheaper solutions to border control in comparison to a costly physical wall. Partnering with the Marine Corps in a $13.5 million contract, Anduril’s technology while merely surveillance has military applications.
Speculation on Anduril’s success points to big tech’s aversion to the sensitive topics of immigration and border control that leave the playing field wide open for specialized tech companies like Anduril. Viewed as the next pet project of Luckey, Anduril escapes much of the public scrutiny that the likes of Google, Microsoft, and their other Silicon Valley neighbors face on a daily basis. Due to its recent success, Anduril will be joining these companies in Silicon Valley with hopes of expansion. There remain questions on whether this startup will be able to secure market share comparable to the current dominating players Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. In the fast-paced world of technology, small scale startups, like Anduril, with a focus on innovation may be the answer to discovering the next breakthrough in defensive technology.
Far from over, surveillance capitalism will fuel demand for this technology and bodes well for Anduril as their client base could easily expand to include non-government entities or even foreign governments. This increase in surveillance technology does bring along ethical implications as consumer privacy and the misuse of technology continue to influence the public. Since the surveillance market does not target the average American as heavily companies like Anduril may not be hindered by these concerns. As technology evolves it becomes easier to control and regulate human behavior in the name of security, but the question remains in whether humans are ready to accept the accompanying loss of privacy.
Contact Amy Chin at firstname.lastname@example.org