How Drones Are Changing The World

Original content created by Lina Abisoghomyan

Photo Credits:

The American drone program is widely unpopular in the Middle East, and is usually seen as a show of power rather than an effort to help

The Players:

The defense sector- since the release of  defense sector has been creeping into a military industrial complex since the use of drones has become instrumental in executing missions in a timely and effective manner. Previously, in order to seek out the enemy, analyze the data, and finally execute a plan would take months or weeks. Today, it takes only days. 

The private sector- Private producers such as spyware companies, and aerospace engineering firms are delighted to be able to have access to such advanced technology. Their profit comes largely from the inelasticity of the demand for this new technology. Because of the now common demand for this kind of technology, private defense companies focus less on patent activity and more on further developing the technology. 

Social sector-  Civilian access to drones has changed how we see the world,and how we interact with it. Used largely by cellular providers, drones allow them to monitor signals and concentrated use zones in order to target customers. Drones have been used by NGO's and human rights groups in order to ensure a safer primary assessment of a war-striken region. Drones have changed how we get our information, and how we understand what it means. 

  Photo Credit: Bureau of Investigative Journalism 

 Photo Credit: Bureau of Investigative Journalism 

A weapons-equipped US drone

The Background: 

Drones, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), are a type of flight technology, developed largely for defense purposes, that can be operated remotely by either a remote control or a computer. They are most commonly known for being used to either deliver mass-scale weapons, like explosive bombs or chemical weaponry, or for surveying, through use of live feed cameras. The idea behind a tool with such remote tactics is not a new one, but the development of drones the way we know them today began by the US Air Force during the Cold War under the now un-classified code name "Red Wagon". The commonization of drones came about in the early 90's during the Gulf War, after which the technology's production rapidly increased, causing the price to,respectively,fall. This caused the commercialization of drones . After 9/11, drones were used by the CIA which significantly catalyzed their development to the degree that we see them to have today. 

Photo Credits: Al Jazeera America

Photo Credits: Al Jazeera America

A Yemeni child affected by the US drone strikes in response to the Houti extremist violence in Sana'a this January 

The Story:

Drones have inevitably changed policy, social perceptions of war, and military tactics. Drones make military strikes more efficient, and much easier to execute. The lack of risk in human lives encourages them as a primary tool in the execution of remote operations. On the other hand, because of the lack of the human aspect, drones can indiscriminately target civilian targets along with high-risk targets. Multiple cases of US drone strikes that claim civilian lives, known most popularly in the case of Yemen, have taken the lives of civilians causing widespread protests and anti-US sentiment as a result. The question then arises, who should answer for the use of drones? Are they considered 'soldiers', or 'equipment'? 

The Thumbnail: A UN UAV drone used in their mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Photo Credit: Wikipedia