The dev blog ends on an ominous note:
We are really enjoying watching all the creative ways you have come up with to interact with the new NPC AI and we look forward to seeing how you tackle the next phase!
I see folks complaining that Drifters are a waste because they drop no loot. This quote seems to confirm my quiet assumption that CCP is dabbling here, poking and prodding ... and they aren't done yet. Thanks to the quicker release cycle, hopefully we can see some improved PVE options in the near future.
Mentally, I've tried to map Drifters into current PVE features (Drifter Burners Missions? Drifter Incursions?) and came away with a pain in my frontal lobe not unlike a brain freeze. Ow. Ow. Ow. I decided that as much as I love doing work for my SOE agent, I hope it's something new entirely.