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

Eyes  
  Flying remote-operated surveillance drones.  

Eyes were used to monitor the movements of dangerous animals, prevent or respond to crime and assist in providing disaster aid.

...When six or seven of my hundred-thirty eyes flickered, then saw again, and the music was suddenly washed away by a wave of static, it was then that I began to feel uneasy.
I called Weather Central for a report, and the recorded girlvoice told me that seasonal rains were expected in the afternoon or early evening. I hung up and switched an eye from ventral to dorsal-vision...
I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures, on the big wall of the Trouble Center, there atop the Watch Tower of Town Hall...
My eyes, coasting weightless along magnetic lines, began to blink.
I knew then that we were in for something.
I sent an eye scurrying off toward Saint Stephen's at full speed, which meant a wait of about twenty minutes until it topped the range. Another, I sent straight up, skywards, which meant perhaps ten minutes for a long shot of the same scene. Then I put the auto-scan in full charge of operations and went downstairs for a cup of coffee.
Technovelgy from This Moment of the Storm, by Roger Zelazny.
Published by Not Known in 1966
Additional resources -

The eyes also had guns mounted on them that could be fired remotely.

Here's another explanatory excerpt:

And he's a Hell Cop. Probably the worst possible job for him, having to keep up his attention in one place for so long. They say the job title comes from the name of an antique flying vehicle--a hellcopper, I think. We send our eyes on their appointed rounds, and they can hover or soar or back up, just like those old machines could. We patrol the city and the adjacent countryside. Law enforcement isn't much of a problem on Cyg. We never peek in windows or send an eye into a building without an invitation. Our testimony is admissible in court--or, if we're fast enough to press a couple buttons, the tape that we make does an even better job--and we can dispatch live or robot cops in a hurry, depending on which will do a better job.

Compare to the raytron apparatus from Beyond the Stars (1928) by Ray Cummings, the scarab robot flying insect from The Scarab (1936) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the artificial eye drone from Glimpse (1938) by Manly Wade Wellman, the spy-eyes from Manners of the Age (1952) by HB Fyfe, the Ultraminiature Spy-Circuit from The Unknown (1972) by Christopher Anvil, copseyes from Cloak of Anarchy (1972) by Larry Niven, the sky ball from A Day For Damnation (1985) by David Gerrold, the drone floater camera from Runaway (1985) by Michael Crichton, the aerostat monitor from The Diamond Age (1995) by Neal Stephenson, the loiter drone from The Algebraist (2004) by Iain Banks and the bee cam from City of Pearl (2004) by Karen Traviss.

Thanks to Winchell Chung for contributing the tip on this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from This Moment of the Storm
  More Ideas and Technology by Roger Zelazny
  Tech news articles related to This Moment of the Storm
  Tech news articles related to works by Roger Zelazny

Eyes-related news articles:
  - Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System
  - Seatlle Police Drones Overhead Now
  - Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
  - Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
  - The Wanderer: Eyebot From Fallout, Eye From Zelazny

Articles related to Surveillance
Brin's 1990 Novel Earth Still Full Of Predictions
Amazon One Is Frank Herbert's Palm Lock
Who Needs Dogs? Trained Bees Detect Explosives
Government In-Home Surveillance - Yes! Say Third Of Under-30 Adults

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