When discussing futuristic technology people are no longer surprised by what inventors come up with. The thought of hover boards and flying cars really aren’t that farfetched. Drones have almost become commonplace in our everyday lives and will continue to infiltrate more of our daily activities as companies like Amazon, Google, and Domino’s are looking into their use. Drones are  unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) often used in the military for various tasks but are now available for purchase at retail stores like Brookstone, Walmart, and others.

Dominos has conducted several test flights using drone applications.
Dominos has conducted several test flights using drone applications.

With this increased accessibility to the public, several concerns have arisen, primarily about individuals’ privacy and safety. Certain models of these vehicles have the ability to film or record with a camera attachment. Others have the ability to not only attach cameras, but other objects e.g. chemicals, weapons, packages, or pizza deliveries.

In a recent interview with Sarah Clark, a 16 year old girl from Calvert County, she described an encounter she had with a drone. Sarah stated that she was staying in a hotel with a few friends, all 16 years of age and female, for a local youth camp. Upon looking out the window, the girls noticed a drone hovering in plain sight and within view of their hotel room window. This brings to light the severity of the privacy question. As Ms. Clark pointed out, they didn’t know who was controlling it, where that person was, if the drone had a camera on it, or what the intentions of the drone operator were.

Drones_for_tech-Ooy_786525aSarah continued to discuss her fears, citing the ease in which someone could purchase a drone from any store, tape a GoPro or any other type of camera onto the drone, and use it to spy on people. Sarah said she has a “… friend who uses a drone to spy on his neighbors…I mean people are already doing it and what is there to stop them?”

It is a given that technology will always continue to press forward, but as it continues to advance, and the scope and range in which these technologies become more and more interdependent with one’s everyday lives, how much privacy will become eroded and what new dangers will be posed?

Society is progressing at such a rate that we may soon reach a point where privacy, as we now know it, could be a thing of the past.

Despite the obvious negative, and somewhat frightening, attributes of drones, they also provide many benefits that may prove to be essential in current world affairs. Like with any disruptive technology, drones are just the means as to which the operator can reach an end. What determines if they are bad or good for society truly depends on the operator and their intended goals.

The pace in which these technological advancements are developing does not lend to those who want to study the effects of a particular technology before accepting its uses. The ‘wait and see’ approach to new technologies is not effective in the pace of today’s world. Governments and citizens alike have to adapt to the pace of these advancements otherwise they will always be one step behind in countering any effects, positive or negative, they may have on society.

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Logan Toney is a freshman at Washington College with a major in History and a double minor in Secondary Education and Political Science. Logan moved to Calvert County about 15 years ago but has enjoyed living in Maryland his entire life. Logan is a member of the editorial staff at the Patuxent Post.

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