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"...a market economy is essentially a genetic algorithm for solving resource allocation problems..."
- Charles Stross

Flying Eye  
  A remote-controlled device for surveillance overflight.  

When trying to repair a broken hyperspace beacon on a distant planet, it's always a good idea to get some idea of the "lay of the land" before going in oneself.

Staying outside the atmosphere, I sent a Flying Eye down to look things over. In this business, you learn early where and when to risk your own skin. The Eye would be good enough for the preliminary survey.

...There was a nose and tail radar in the Eye, and I fed their signals in to a scope as an amplitude curve. When the two [landmark mountain] peaks coincided, I spun the Eye controls and dived the thing down.

From The Repairman, by Harry Harrison.
Published by Galaxy Science Fiction in 1959
Additional resources -

The Eye could be controlled manually, or it could be locked into a particular course. For example, you might want the device to circle a particular location at a set radius and altitude.

Take a look at the copseye from Larry Niven's 1972 short story Cloak of Anarchy and the Raytron apparatus from Ray Cummings' 1928 classic Beyond the Stars for different takes on this ancient wish (remote viewing - see Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, circa 200 BC).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Repairman
  More Ideas and Technology by Harry Harrison
  Tech news articles related to The Repairman
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