It used to be simply the name for a bee that didn’t work but could fertilise the queen, or a continuous low humming sound, or part of the makeup of a bagpipe! Nowadays we must add another description of a “drone “ – a remote controlled pilotless aircraft, or in aviation speak, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Modern-day drones have a wide variety of useful applications. Fitted with a camera they are used by archaeologists to photograph terrain from the air, by meteorologists to monitor storms and hurricanes, for map making, and for search and rescue missions. Mini drones were apparently one of the best sellers at Christmas, and provided great entertainment for many young owners. All good.
But I’m writing this after Gatwick was shut down because some idiot had flown their drone in the vicinity of the airport endangering aircraft. This not only caused havoc to flights, but also means airports will have to invest millions of pounds for anti-drone technology.
Small drones can be used to deliver lightweight packages, and retail giant, Amazon, is apparently developing a drone that can be used to deliver some of their millions of parcels. OK.
But once again there is another side to it, as there have been authentic reports of drones being used to deliver drugs to prisoners in some of our jails. Not OK.
So here we have yet another illustration of the way that humans can take almost any product and use it either for good or for bad purposes. I am reliant on several medicinal drugs to ease my back pain, and to keep my body working as efficiently as possible for my age, and I am truly grateful for these prescribed drugs. Good use. But beside that we have to acknowledge
the awful and unlawful trade of drugs by amoral traffickers who leave a massive trail of addiction and death in in the wake of their illegal trade. Bad use.
The internet can be an amazing resource, especially connecting people on social media, but at the same time it is also open to abuse and lead to a great deal of misery and hurt.
Some say technology is a blessing, others that it is a curse. Which is right ? They both are. The question is not whether technology is good or bad, but what we humans decide to do with the technology that really matters. Drones are already used in a variety of different areas and I fear there is no end when it comes to their possibilities for future good or evil.
I just hope that the word of God to the Israelites is taken heed of:
“I am giving you the choice between life and death, between a blessing and a curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life.“ ( Deuteronomy 30 )
I hope and pray to God that we will.
Revd Bob Ellis