We live in a glorious modern world. A technological world filled with all kinds of machines flying through the air that can kill and/or deprive you of your right to privacy. Want to know more? I’ll be happy to drone on about it.
If only there was some way to combine the spine-tingling creepiness of drones with America’s #1 pastime. I’m talking about, of course, shopping.
Fact: On average, Americans shop six hours a week and spend only 40 minutes playing with their children.
Yeah, that sounds like a great way to run a railroad. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like we could all turn out to be a bunch of assholes, right? I’m sure Dr. Spock would be proud of what we as a society have accomplished.
Now who would be interested in combining drone technology with the compulsion to buy consumption thingies? Amazon.com?! And, bonus, what a great place for Dr. Spock’s heirs to sell his books!
When I was a kid, a “drone” was a little thing that looked a lot like an airplane. It had wings, a fuselage and a tiny gasoline-powered motor in front. It was attached to a string. It was deceptively simple. Yell “clear!” and pull down on the prop, takeoff, then hold your arms out and spin in a circle, sending that sucker on a 360-degree flight where it would mow down everything in its path.
Fancy versions introduced the concept of a “remote control” that allowed the plane to do more interesting things than endlessly circumnavigate a circle. This was the humble little acorn that would become the mighty oak of the Drone Age that we all know and accept as the reality of today.
The military was the first to recognize the potential. The process went something like this: “Make it bigger. And put some bombs on it.” Just when you thought the industrial military complex couldn’t get any more clever, too.
Not even the military could predict, however, that Amazon would come along and say, “Hey, we can use that shit to sell books.”
The things no longer resemble the airplanes we knew as kids. They have been improved to that point that they are now sleek, modern, creepy and robotic in appearance. They may have four or more propellers extended from a fuselage that makes them decidedly insect-like. They look remarkably similar to the aircraft used by SkyNet to hunt humans in our not-so-distant future.
Amazon is apparently tinkering with the idea of using drones to deliver little packages of consumption goodies that weigh up to five pounds via “aerial vehicles” that can travel over 50 miles per hour. Amazon says about 86 percent of their deliveries are five pounds or less. According to a video released by the company the service is cutely named Prime Air.
With any luck – and the purchase of a shotgun from Amazon Firearms (probably coming soon) – I’ll soon find myself in front of the Supreme Court to help establish precedent regarding private property ownership and the airspace above. I claim sovereignty over same and will vigorously defend my territory against the Amazon drone fleet. I call it my “Castle Doctrine Civil Air Defense Force.” And if any consumer goods happen to land on my property, what can I say? They will be claimed as per my rights under maritime salvage laws. Yes, I’m also a legal expert.
But wait! Drones aren’t just for killing or shopping any more. Companies have cropped up that provide drone aerial photography capability. These camera-equipped drones can be used for scary services like: asset management, compliance monitoring, precision agriculture, conservation, planning, marketing, fleet operations, and, of course, entertainment.
At least one woman doesn’t like the idea very much. At home in Seattle she looked out her window and saw the friendly-looking thing and thought, “Eek! My privacy!”
Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels, but they were right about one thing: Our skies will soon be filled with drones. And they’ll have all sorts of missions like killing people, law enforcement, delivering plastic crap that was made in China, invading privacy, video photography and, of course, deployment of poisonous insects to Queen Padmé Amidala’s sleeping chamber. Why should you have to look your enemy in the eye just to be able to kill them? Remote control – the only way to go!
What’s next for drones? The future looks bright, and hopefully that’s not just from the radiation. If human beings survive this technology it’s theoretically possible they could get around to using drones for something that’s actually beneficial to humanity. It could happen.