Look! Up in the sky! It’s…



Drones! It was bound to happen eventually, and for my part, I am still working through my feelings on the subject. There are so many ways in which humans communicate, that those of us in the media world should have anticipated this development and try to create ways of dealing with the new technology. For background on the topic, check out this article from Ars Technica on the FAA’s recent allowance of 6 Hollywood studios the rights for regulated drone filming.

Now, dear readers, I’m sure quite a few of you are reading this and thinking, “Why bring this up now? Aren’t drones in use already?” and “What does this have to do with Millennials?”

Yes, drones have been in use for certain industries for a few years now, but most of those instances were localized and the FAA here in the US has needed some time to work through the tangled web of issues surrounding this new technology. Even the film industry is no stranger to drones as location filming of action sequences and other prominent scenes (e.g. the James Bond film Skyfall had scenes in Istanbul) has taken place in other countries. The challenge now is the scope of the use comparing, for instance, a real estate developer, film studios, and even law enforcement. Each industry, and many others, can benefit from the change of perspective, but our society has yet to develop organized guidelines for use governing, personal, business, and law enforcement applications.

As this takes time to work out, Millennials are poised to gain in the new job markets created by drone use. All those hours playing video games will likely help flight operations, not to mention our comfort with cameras. However, this new technological step crosses many boundaries, some physical, and others societal. We’d like to believe that everyone within a society can recognize and respect boundaries, but drones which permit an operator to cross over a physical boundary, (e.g. walls, rivers, etc.) to film property, endangered wildlife, or people, is just a further crossing of that societal boundary.  It would be very challenging (if not impossible) to monitor the use of drones around the country, and we need to have laws that ensure the protections of privacy and safety for those who may be within the camera’s filed of focus. We have laws against unlawful searches, as well as against invasion of privacy that must catch up with the technology.

A harmonious future would allow the use of this new platform for cameras, local deliveries, even safety monitoring of weather or natural phenomena while respecting the rights of individuals captured in the memory files. If Google earth can map the globe and create features which protect the general public, there must be ways of legislating and innovating to ensure appropriate use of drones. While new tech can cause problems, I think we should be mindful that every new advance comes with a responsibility of power. We can choose to act positively or negatively, and each choice will shape the world we inherit. I for one can’t wait to see what new stories we can tell in film and television with a new perspective.


How do you see drones affecting our lives and culture? Share your thoughts and comment here.