The impact of drones on society is undeniable. As the use and capabilities increase, it becomes increasingly vital for us to know exactly what impact these machines have on people around them, especially when they interact in public spaces.

Drones have been used commercially since at least the early aughts, but only in recent years has their impact on society become a worthy topic of study. The rise of drone technology itself can be attributed to many factors.

They include how small modern components have allowed for this reduction in size; advancements in radio control technology that would enable operators greater range while maintaining precise control; battery life allowing for longer airtime; and the economies of scale available from mass production.

These same factors that led to the initial popularity of consumer drones are spurring the development of commercial drones, which are having a marked impact on society.

Attempts to Regulate the Drones

Attempts to regulate use through legislation have proven difficult due to rapid technological advancements and an unclear legislative landscape. This legal ambiguity is essential; currently, there exist no specific laws for operating drones in public spaces.

Civilian drone operators do, however, fall under many jurisdictions’ existing trespassing codes. Furthermore, while law enforcement agencies can seek warrants before acting against drones flying over private property (with the notable exception of the Supreme Court case Florida v. Riley 488 U.S. 445), they are unable to take any action against drones flying over public spaces without individualized suspicion that criminal activity is taking place.

Impact of Drones on Society

While impact studies seem few and far between, many existing reports indicate the impact of drones on society. The drones and their effects on society are not one-dimensional. Still, you can broadly summarize them into three significant effects drones have on the human psyche, loss of privacy, insecurity/fear, and changes in social dynamics.

Loss of Privacy 

Civil liberties groups have already studied the impact of drones on privacy. One study showed that while people felt uneasy about police use of drones for surveillance, they were even more opposed to commercial use.

This may be because law enforcement agencies are subject to some level of oversight or transparency, while privately operated drones are free from regulation. A general unease with government intrusion through technology exists across the political spectrum and especially affects younger generations (i.e., especially affecting millennials).

The potential impact of drones on privacy is immense, but whether they are an effective surveillance method has not been studied enough. Concerns about the impact on privacy are supported by the limited number of intentional drone-based invasions of privacy that have taken place.

Increasing Insecurity/Fear

The impact of drones on society is linked to feelings of insecurity and fear by many reports. One study concluded that 80% of people felt uneasy when exposed to drone technology, including military drones and commercial or toy drones.

Other studies have shown adverse reactions to drone imagery in surveyed populations, with the desire for more immediate countermeasures. Factors such as size seem important in evoking these fears, as this study found that respondents had less fear of the small drone than they did of larger aircraft.

Increasing Insecurity - impact of drones on society - Geo Drones

A study in South Korea showed that roughly half of their surveyed population felt uneasy about drones, while another third were very uneasy. This unease manifested itself in physical impact, with many participants suffering from headaches and discomfort when exposed to drones. The effect of this increase in fear cannot be understated.

Some reports have tied impact on society with changes in social behavior, especially among younger people. One study found younger generations preferred face-to-face interaction over online communication, suggesting an impact on interpersonal relationships by drone use is harmful. Additionally, some studies show an impact on trust relationships between individuals subject to increased surveillance by drones. A general sense of discomfort with being watched has also been observed, especially when paired with the impact of increased insecurity.

Change in Social Dynamics

You can surmise the impact of drones on society through their impact on social dynamics. Many reports show that children are inherently drawn to drones, and this positive impact of drones on society may have future implications. There is a fear by some expressed in the media that drone use will negatively impact interpersonal relationships.

Ultimately it is impossible to predict precisely how the impact of drones will manifest itself in our society, but there are enough studies that suggest adverse effects exist. The legal landscape surrounding drone usage is vast, complex, and constantly changing.

It’s essential for civilians who wish to own drones to remain abreast of local laws legally so they don’t inadvertently break them. For law enforcement professionals, it will be essential to develop a drone policy for your department if you haven’t done so already. This impact of drones on society is something we should all pay attention to in the future.

Geodrone is the Next Era Solution

Those impacts may sound adverse for society; however, the outcome can be constructive if a company knows how to mitigate them. Geodrones use drone technology safely while keeping your privacy and posing the most negligible impact on social dynamics.

Check our award-winning features and offers to get the best drone-based services in town.