Drones and Contemporary Life

Discourse surrounding the innovation of drone technology elicits a number of intensive responses. On one hand, the commercial availability of drones may both normalize its use, as, for example, cities across the U.S. and beyond create drone parks specifically for the recreational use of drones, and as drones become an increasingly popular gift idea, evoking the rhetorical framing of “drones as toys.” On the other hand, its use in the military and intelligence communities for both ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and targeted strikes engenders a number of responses ranging from enthusiasm to outrage to ethical unease in both the military community and the general public. However, popular discourse belies a general confusion about the term “drones” and the breadth of the technology’s application.

In LIFE UNDER DRONES, these and various other discourses are invited to co-mingle across academic disciplines, research foci, and applications to generate common and multifaceted understandings of drone technology and its implications. Featured in this event will be leading scholars, artists, and practitioners whose work gleans innovative insights into the complex issue of drone technology.

The symposium will take an expansive approach to research into drone technology and its implications. Potential topics may include but are by no means limited to:

      • The ethics of drone warfare
      • Implications for privacy versus security in drone surveillance
      • Drones’ impacts on our changing visual culture
      • An affective account of drones’ presence within spaces, environments, terrains
      • Innovations in the arts and media from the use of drones
      • Policy implications of drone use in local, federal, and international contexts
      • The impact of drone technology on industry (i.e., Amazon’s patent in drone delivery systems) and consumerism (i.e., the commercial availability of drones)
      • Public discourse surrounding the use of drones in general, or the US drone war specifically
      • Mental health implications for drone operators
      • The impacts of drone technology on military operation security (OPSEC) and surveillance