Seamless. Uber. Parcel. Each of these companies seeks to ease the pain of picking up your dinner, hailing a cab, or missing your anticipated package delivery, all while simultaneously facilitating your current Netflix binge. Google now hopes to become part of that list … as if the company didn’t already permeate nearly every aspect of our lives. But, in true innovative fashion, Google aims to take delivery the extra mile and replace the nice college student who delivers your pizza during the summer with airborne drones.
My first thought was of slight reserve, as I don’t know how I would react to C3PO ringing my doorbell. While I do appreciate technology, there are multi-facets to this drone phenomena that have potential to both excite and scare the public. Many national and international organizations share that feeling and despite Google’s goal to advance technology and crush the souls of competition like Amazon, the dark side of these developments are being acknowledged and debated by such organizations.
Last year, Human Rights Watch criticized the use of drones in military bombings. Earlier this summer, the Federal Aviation Administration began debates regarding the television and film industries use of drones on set and whether air rights should be waived. Supreme Court cases have often debated the clash with the Fourth Amendment. These issues demonstrate that drones have the power to affect numerous aspects of the public and legal fields including privacy law, intellectual property, international law boundaries, commercial law, etc. If we thought Google Earth was creepy, drones and like technology can very well take that to a new level.
While the use of drones may not be a surprise to the public, the boundaries they push are. At what point do we regulate? Who do we grant exceptions to? What governing bodies or organizations should be able to decide such? Since technology like drones seems only to be advancing, these are questions the public will require answers to.
Photo: The WSJ