Good or Evil? The Truth About Drones

Featured Image: Drone First Test Flight by Richard Unten (CC BY 2.0)

An unmanned aerial vehicle, more commonly known as a “drone”, is a small aircraft that can be controlled from a separate location (Howell, 2015).  While they are predominantly used for military purposes, drones are now available in the mass market for ordinary consumers to purchase and use.

Because of this, the acceptable use of drones has become a public issue. It has brought out people’s fears of surveillance in areas deemed private, such as the home.

The representation of drones in the media is disproportionately negative and inflammatory. While they can absolutely be used for unethical purposes, they can also bring about fantastic change for people in Australia and around the world.

I asked Twitter whether the benefits of drones outweighed the associated privacy concerns and the results, to me, were unsurprising.

Tweet embedded from my @amy_thompson97 profile.

The outcome of my Twitter poll reflects exactly how I felt before I did some research on the several and significant benefits of drones. I considered them to be annoying toys that were fun for about 5 minutes before they got boring. The privacy concerns did occur to me, but they were not something I worried about personally. All in all, I was 50/50 – I didn’t have a strong opinion about them.

In the news we often hear that drones are used for people to spy on you from your own backyard while you’re sunbathing by the pool or how they could potentially be used by governments to survey it’s unknowing citizens, taking a page out of Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eight-Four (although Orwell himself never imagined the use of drones for this).

Tweet embedded from my @amy_thompson97 profile.

Mainstream media often presents a dystopian view of technology, so many average Australians only know the dangers of drones rather than the good they can bring.

34807971146_eaf768c8de_o.jpg
BLM_Drone_Training_07 by Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Drones can be used by scientists for environmental conservation and management practices, including collecting data about animal movements, invasive species, and habitat changes (Markowitz et al 2017, pp. 381-382). Drones are not only a cost-effective way to do this, but they are also less destructive and intrusive to the natural wildlife and environment compared to larger vehicles or visiting in person.

 

Drones can also be used by emergency services to survey damaged areas in emergency situations, such as earthquakes for long periods of time (Giovani et al 2017, p. 54). The use of drones means that injured people can be located without unnecessarily risking the lives of rescue teams.

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Flying quadcopter drone agriculture farming by ackab1 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Drones can give farmers much needed assistance throughout the crop-cycle (Mazur, 2016) and can even deliver blood and other medical supplies in emergency situations (Cohn 2017).

Before doing my own research, I had never even considered these examples of how drones can bring significant opportunities to a multitude of industries and people.

 

Yes, drones can be used with bad intentions, but this is nothing new. We tend to focus on the negative aspects of technology and forget or ignore the vast advantages they can bring to everyone. There are always risks that come with technology, but this doesn’t mean that drones should be shunned altogether, as long as wrong-doers are dealt with accordingly. With substantial laws and education, to me there is no question that the benefits of drones outweigh any related privacy concerns.

Thanks for reading!

– Amy

(516 words, not including citations, tweets and captions)

References: 

Cohn, M 2017, ‘Drones could soon get crucial medical supplies to patients in need’, Baltimore Sun, 1 January, retrieved 5 August 2017, <http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/maryland-health/bs-hs-drones-for-blood-20161223-story.html>.

Giovani, M, Ramalli, G, Manning, N, & Manneschi, M 2017, ‘Monitoring with drones during a major emergency’, Advances In Environmental Sciences, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 54, Environment Complete, EBSCOhost, retrieved 5 August 2017.

Howell, E 2015, ‘What is a drone?’, Space.com, 2 June, retrieved 5 August 2017, <https://www.space.com/29544-what-is-a-drone.html>

Markowitz, E M, Nisbet, M C, Danylchuk, A J, Engelbourg, S I 2017, ‘What’s that buzzing noise? Public opinion on the use of drones for conservation science’, BioScience, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 381 – 382, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix003, retrieved 5 August 2017. 

Mazur, M 2016, ‘Six ways drones are revolutionizing agriculture’, MIT Technology Review, 20 July, retrieved 5 August 2017, <https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601935/six-ways-drones-are-revolutionizing-agriculture/>.

Orwell, G 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four, London, Penguin Books.

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17 thoughts on “Good or Evil? The Truth About Drones

  1. Super interesting post! It’s fascinating to think about how drone help our lives, and can be used for good! I mean, I’m super excited for my pizza to be delivered by drone! And within the film industry there it much better environmentally then using a helicopter to take aerial shots. Post is excellent, your content so well thought out! Your references were well integrated, as were your tweets (great use of the poll!) Also great use of language, the humour really helps! Indeed Orwell would have never pictured this outcome himself (though would he have pictured drones becoming a thing?)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Amy,
    This post really got me thinking, because I never knew that drones could be used for so many important and positive things in society like the use of them for science and farming. You have completely opened my mind to the thought that drones are in fact useful. I think it was good that you spoke about the positives of this type of surveillance and technology, rather than being negative. The only thing I could possibly critique you on, would be to have expanded your images to something other than drones. Obviously your post is all about drones, but I think three photos of all drones is a bit repetitive. Maybe you could have put in a picture of a person controlling one, to put a face to the controllers of these machines.
    But I think this blog is really well written and I enjoyed reading it. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Amy
    Really good and informative blog post! I thought your style of writing was of a really high quality and you touched on various aspects of the topic effectively. I agree completely with the idea that we focus more on negative aspects of technology, while I’m not too worried about drones, if positives outweigh, its worth the benefit of the doubt. You use of images and tweets really added to the point you were making and they fit into the post really well, making it a well presented post. Your references also were integrated smoothly into your writing and made it seem very natural and not added on for the sake of being there, they really further emphasized your argument. Overall, this is a great post of high quality, keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Amy, great blog post! I really like that you didn’t focus too much on the negatives of drones, which is often the reason they enter realm of public debate. I agree with your point that drones can be used for lots of positive tasks, and education and regulation it shouldn’t pose such a threat to our privacy. About the format of the post, I liked that you embedded a poll result from your twitter, I felt it gave a sense of legitimacy to further support your contention in addition to your academic references. If I had to suggest some improvement to your article it would be maybe diversifying the images you’ve used, maybe some of a drone surveying farm land or perhaps a picture of the ‘original’ military drone to highlight how consumer friendly they’ve become. But all in all, a great blog post! Keep it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Amy. Great blog. I found your writing style and research excellent to read and your take on the topic worked a treat. I agree that drones can be used for good, however I believe there are privacy concerns which are currently being debated in relation to this topic. But that’s the case with any new technology.

    Only a small issue to be addressed; When referencing images with creative commons just ensure you have the correct disclaimer linked. Your first image has (CC BY 2.0) which is correct for the image, except it takes you to the (CC BY-SA 2.0) disclaimer.

    Overall I liked your Tweet and images (You might want to consider using an image that shows a drone being used badly). Fantastic work which you should be proud of. Great Job!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Amy,

    Well done on not falling into the trap of writing too negatively about surveillance. You have certainly written informatively about the more positive side of drones, which often gets overlooked so it is refreshing to hear the other side of the argument!

    You’ve also done well with embedding tweets. I like how you appeal to the sense of humour of the reader with the second tweet, while also providing data through the poll results in the first tweet.

    I know it can be difficult to find appropriate photos but it would be great to have some different photos throughout the post, rather than just drone photos! However you have still written a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Really good blog post Amy! I think you have used the best (and most common) example of the surveillance debate. Whilst you have presented your perspective, you have acknowledged both sides. I think the Twitter poll you included gives an interesting insight to how people think regarding drones. You also spoke about it well. I think that you have a strong contention and there were very few mistakes. Well done!

    Like

  8. Hi, Amy!

    I really enjoy reading your blog post. I love your writing style, and it is very informative!
    I wasn’t expecting the blog post to be the good side of drones as many of the blog post that I have read regarding the surveillance tend to talk about the evil side of surveillance that refers to us as the observed object have to be cautious of it.
    I love the initiative that you created an image and also use the Twitter polls. Moreover, you did well on referencing!
    I understand that the blog post was about drones, but it would be more wonderful to see other pictures that are ‘related’ to drones? Such as the remote control, or people using it, and such.

    Hope this helps, and overall, amazing work!

    Like

  9. Hey Amy,
    I found your blog post to be interesting and very user interactive! Your Twitter poll was a great way to encourage your reader to participate and a good asset for your post! The contention of the blog itself was great as it explored both sides of the issue – the invasion of privacy threat that the drones hold versus the usefulness in regards to farming and medical emergencies. The suggestion I had for your next blog post was to cut out unnecessary definitions – such as the drone definition as they are so well known now due to media coverage – as you highlighted – that society knows their implications and meaning. Great Work!

    Like

  10. Hi Amy!

    You raised some incredibly intriguing points within this blog post concerning the pros and cons surrounding the use of drones within the framework of surveillance. I appreciated the vast range of scholarly sources and forms of media used within the blog post to ensure that it maintained not only the attention of the audience but also academic integrity. In particular, your use of twitter poll results to demonstrate the spectrum of perspectives that exist within public discourse surrounding the issues of drones and surveillance was creative and provided a great degree of clarity without consuming too much of the restricted wordcount within the blog post. Furthermore, your blog post contained an impactful introduction and conclusion section which helped to summarise and reinforce the arguments you presented throughout the piece. It would’ve been great to see a more balanced representation of the arguments for and against the use of drones as I felt that the negative impacts could have been expanded upon in more detail within the blog post. Overall this was an excellent entry and I look forward to reading more in the future surrounding the implications of drones within surveillance society!

    Like

  11. Hi Amy,

    I applaud you for writing such an intriguing post! Before reading this blog I also never considered how beneficial drones actually are – I’m so glad you took this approach, rather than the negative side!

    It is evident you are very skilled at writing, making your text very easy to follow. I like your use of a poll rather than just a normal tweet, it indicates an interaction with your fellow classmates and shows your extra effort in gathering anecdotal evidence. Overall, the integration of tweets, journal articles and imagery was of high quality. These further emphasised and supported your discussion.

    I appreciate your concise conclusion which tied your ideas together. Also, well done on excellent referencing! I’m looking forward to reading your next post!

    Regards,

    Laura

    Like

  12. Hi Amy,
    I really enjoyed your post – you write very well. This was the first post I had seen regarding drones, so I found it extremely interesting and informative. I honestly wasn’t aware that drones are so common and provide so many benefits to the community. I thought your tweets were well integrated and interacted well with the written component of your discussion. I understand that the basis of your argument was to highlight the positive aspects of drones, however, if I were to provide one criticism it would be that in doing this, you potentially delegitimised and disregarded the other side of the argument.
    Nonetheless, I thought your post was well informed and provided a new and interesting perspective. Look forward to reading more!

    Like

  13. This is a wonderful constructed and well researched blog post – the way that you have explored the positive uses of drone technology really stands apart from other negative arguments that I regularly read about the tech. Also your use of photos showing different types of drones in the context of their use really help the blog post resonate for me.

    So too did I love the cartoon that you illustrated – adding that humour was refreshing and engaging. The only thing that I would consider looking at is saving Creative Commons credits until the end with the references – perhaps merely a link embedded on the caption was enough? Also, given that the tweet was yours, I don’t think it is necessary say where the tweet was embedded from – the embed tells us that.

    Like

  14. Hi Amy! First of all, great post. The structure of your post flows nicely from the Twitter poll at the start to your closing paragraph. I loved how you presented positive opportunities for drones, I had never through about using them in the ways you mentioned in your post. The research you included makes this post a very strong piece, which will surely convince more people of the positive side of drones. The media you included in your post fits the text component seamlessly and absolutely does not distract from the actual point of the post. Very well done!

    Like

  15. Hi Amy,

    This was a concise post about the perceptions both positive and negative about drone use, to which your writing allows for the reader to develop their own opinion. I think the positive potentials of using drones outweigh the Orwellian concepts of surveillance, with benefits being able to oversee surplus amounts of people at outdoor events, search and rescue etcetera. As new avenues of technologies open they should be used as societies progress. The use of Twitter poll is a unique incorporation of the media and the references legitimise and support your point of view well without being cumbersome.

    Regards,

    Raph.

    Like

  16. Hi Amy,
    Great post!
    Good job asking for votes on twitter! Paragraph structure was great. You have focused on both side and great examples.
    I never thought that drones was evil till I found a video on YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoaYf1coGvY
    Someone using drone to spy on neighbor window bathroom and they found it because the noise of drone. Overall, your blog has the most interesting topic; it has a strong argument, positives and negatives! Good job.

    Cheers,
    Ferventy.

    Like

  17. Hi Amy, what a refreshing post to read, clearly plenty of research went to the making of this blog post. I know it’s hard not to talk too negatively about surveillance, and I really appreciate the choice that you’ve made here of pointing out the better sides of drones in everyday life! The result of your Twitter poll baffled me too, since the voters are split 50-50. I also appreciate that you went as far as to make a comic strip to play with your argument; it is definitely a breath of fresh air, especially with that Orwell reference. Your writing flows so well with each separate idea in different paragraphs. However, it will be good to see images other than drones in the post, although referencing-wise you did a great job. Well done!

    Like

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