With the United States’ campaign of targeted killing of suspected terrorists around the world, the “drone” has rocketed into public attention. In the resulting public debate, the stigma of the drone as a technology solely devoted to warfare and surveillance has limited the discussion of its potential and actual role in society.
But a growing contingent of innovators are putting drones to use across a broader spectrum, one that promises to increase the role of drones in our lives. In order to explore the unique challenges and opportunities posed by drones, Drones and Society serves as a space for the aggregation and exploration of news and information surrounding drones and drone innovation.
Drones and Society is housed at the University of Utah as part of a joint venture between the Honors College and the College of Humanities. Professors Sean Lawson and Avery Holton were awarded an Honors Humanities Professorship to develop and teach Drones and Society in fall 2014 and Innovation with Drones in spring 2015. Together, students and instructors in these courses build the content and conversations you see here.
In these courses, students explore the ways that drones are being imagined and made real in various realms of society, such as military affairs, environmental monitoring, law enforcement, agriculture, disaster relief, journalism, and entertainment. They also investigate the myriad definitional, strategic, moral, ethical, legal, and political issues raised by drone technology. Students have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with the basics of building quadcopters and work in teams to propose innovative new uses for drone technology.