"Drones are potentially as disruptive as the internet," is the thesis that Dezeen's new documentary, Elevation, is based on. The very first documentary on drones, the 18-minute film explores how they can fundamentally change the way we relate to each other, with commentary from architect Norman Foster, founder of Foster + Partners, Anab Jain of design studio Superflux, and transportation designer Paul Priestman of PriestmanGoode.
Drones have been around us for centuries, with the first of its kind developed for military use. The current definition of drones, according the English Oxford Dictionary, is a "remote-less controlled piloted aircraft or missile". Following that definition, the first drone was developed after WWI in 1916 as the Kettering "Bug" Aerial Torpedo.
Today, drones have been accessible to the public due to advanced technology allowing engineers to create them in masses, and can now be purchased at your local toy store. But, the modern drone is more than just a toy; they are now being used in a number of industries, including agriculture, architecture, environmental science and more. The aircrafts allow humans to go places and accomplish feats we could not have made possible without this technology—simply, with a push of a button.
What's most interesting, is the way Elevation analyses the way drones can impact us socially. "Like any other emerging technology, it rises social issues," says one of the interviewees. Drones existing in our civilian lives can potentially negatively affect the way we live as well. With technology as versatile and precise as drones, in the hands of the wrong person(s), this tech can turn against us. Elevation includes excerpts from the film Drone Aviary, which speculates a world where drones infiltrate our entire civilian lives, blurring space ownership boundaries and invading privacy by watching us and collecting data that we are unaware of.
From a positive perspective, drones will allow us to live and work more efficiently and economically such as, traveling with air taxis like the ones Uber has been developing, and soon we'll be able to have our breakfast delivered to us with this tech. Drones can also provide aid in areas that lack the infrastructure we take for granted, like roads and highways, and air drop medical materials quickly. Additionally, when in the right hands, they can serve as public watchdogs—documenting police activity and violence.
Watch the full 18-min documentary above and share your thoughts with a repost on social.