Drones: More good than bad

Dire predictions don’t change potential

Drones: the beginning of a 1984-esque dystopia or an innovation that will revolutionize shipping, mapping and search and rescue?

Probably a little of both.

Privacy advocates have argued against the unmanned aircrafts, citing concerns over the ability for anyone to access the technology and observe others mostly undetected.

Mostly, I think, this is because the most publicized use of drones has been in military operations, most recently in Iraq against ISIS.

New technology, with military reputation, can be an intimidating thing to hear about or imagine using in the U.S.

But when deciding whether or not to utilize new technology, it is always relevant whether the potential for misuse, or at least unsavory uses, is outweighed by the potential for great benefits.

Some companies have been exploring the idea of drone delivery; Google and Amazon have looked at the potential for drones for delivery systems. While the cost is too high currently to make a regular delivery system possible, the potential for delivery to remote or dangerous locations is still there.

And speaking of remote and dangerous, the same technology that can be used to watch anything can also be used in search and rescue, and surveying.

The talked-about applications of drones have varied. People have said their monitoring power could be used by just about anything, from farmers keeping tabs on crops and livestock to surveying pipelines to prevent wider spread environmental disasters.

Drones were used earlier this year to measure radiation levels around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

But despite the potential for very useful practices, they are still being bogged down by fear mongering regarding the potential privacy concerns.

In a country with increasingly militarized police, and an increasingly intelligence-gathering government, any privacy problems are more likely to come from boots kicking down your door or having your emails and phone records checked than from a mostly underdeveloped technology.

Going forward, drones should be developed with the best intentions in mind. They have great untapped potential, and like anything else, they will only be what people make of them.