Drones pose a number of ethical challenges when used for social good. The data collected using drones may put people at risk by exposing personal, community and demographically identifiable information, for example. This explains why informed consent is a foundational ethical principle. However, gaining consent presents logistical and practical challenges, especially in emergency contexts when time is of the essence. (It is worth emphasizing that satellite companies are not required to gain informed consent even though they collect massively more data).
Another ethical problem posed by drones is data trawling, which consists of collecting as much as data as possible regardless of need for said data. Only the absolute minimum amount of data that is necessary to address a specific problem must be collected. All other data should be spared.
In addition, the use of drones in social good projects face a range of structural inequalities in terms of market access for local drone experts. Costs, regulations, certifications and outright discrimination all serve as important barriers to entry for local drone experts to participate in social good projects within their own countries. There are concerns that international organizations are increasingly monopolizing the drone space, making it more difficult for local players to solve local problems. This too is unethical and exacerbates inequality and the digital divide.
These ethical problems are illustrative examples. There are of course other ethical issues out there like AI bias, for example. As such, we invite participants to propose solutions to other ethics issues as well.
The challenge is open to organisations (not-for-profit / for profit / academic and research organisations) and individuals globally. If you are an individual, you will need a company as a fiscal sponsor to move on to the next phase of the competition should your idea be chosen to enter the finalist round.
For complete details on the eligibility criteria that govern Drone & Data Ethics | Unusual Solvers please refer to the website.
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For complete details on the terms and conditions that govern Drone & Data Ethics | Unusual Solvers please refer to the website.