Technology, for the most part, is morally neutral: few inventions were actually intended for evil purposes. But you can’t assume that they will never be used that way:
Drones are a tool. In some cases, they can be a really useful tool (searching a large park area for a lost kid, for example: I suspect in some cases they could save lives). Or they’re a really cool tool: I’d love to be able to see my field sites from the air, and there are probably some research questions that could be answered faster or better with one.
But: like any tool, people can misuse them. When I first heard about drones for “civilian” use being equipped with cameras, practically my first thought was, “No woman is ever going to be able to sunbathe in the ‘privacy’ of her backyard any more.” (Not that I DO, but I know some people like to.) And I don’t even mean nude sunbathing, which is perhaps a legal gray area in a densely-populated area — even being ogled from afar while in a modest bathing suit is icky and gross.
Women, by and large, hate to be gawked at, not so much because they were told to hate it by the likes of Betty Friedan, but because it’s an invasion of privacy at a level they are disinclined to tolerate, and it doesn’t matter if they’re wearing DVF wrap dresses or hazmat suits or nothing at all.
And truth be told, as a person who is known to occasionally forgo clothing, I’m not that keen on being observed from a distance, though I will note for record that of those few people who have spotted me, only the males ever saw fit to complain.
But they had a reaction story from someone who owned, I think it was, a business that sold drones. And he was upset: why should homeowners be able to destroy someone else’s property?
And that’s where I got to thinking about the “living in community” thing: Sir, are you really saying you want your customers to be able to fly their mini-copters over their neighbor’s backyards without asking the neighbor’s permission first? You really want to be the guy who sells a product that annoys the heck out of people and makes them angry? Because I’d be angry if I were digging around in the garden and spotted a drone hovering around. Angry and creeped out, because why would someone want to be spying on me like that (provided the thing had a camera).
If someone else’s tree grows over the fence, I reserve the right to trim the branches on my side. (And if it’s my tree, I have no problem if a neighbor takes similar action.) If someone’s drone comes over the fence, I reserve the right to take whatever action I deem appropriate.
One thing about the Golden Rule: it’s eternal enough to cover even 21st-century dick moves:
The human population is ever growing (even though I live in one of the less-dense areas) and we have to be able to live with each other. To me, it seems simple: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” or “what would be abhorrent to you, do not do to your neighbor” and I know that having someone run loud equipment early in the morning (before I was up) would be abhorrent to me, and I also know that some people sleep a good bit later than I do on weekends. I just wish the 2-am drivers would realize the same thing. And if everyone followed the Golden Rule, we probably wouldn’t wind up with laws like “Homeowners who shoot down unauthorized drones will be held harmless” because there wouldn’t BE anyone flying unauthorized drones.
We are, alas, a long way from reaching that degree of perfectibility.