by Chason Gordon
- The Capitol Hill Times -
People are still a little uncomfortable with drones. They fly and have cameras and can’t be hugged or petted. A drone will never pick up a check and are the worst at stopping to chat when you bump into them. The Seattle Police Department attempted to incorporate drones into police operations a little while ago, but a public outcry caused Mayor Mike McGinn to put the kibosh on the program. Sources say this may have cost him the election, because drones are allowed to vote.
This past week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made drone news by unveiling the future “Amazon Prime Air” delivery service, which envisions automated drones flying parcels from the warehouse to your front door within 30 minutes (or it’s free?). Putting aside the fact that this news was conveniently released preceding Cyber Monday, the highest grossing day for online retailers, this drone delivery thing raises an important question: would people be more comfortable with drones invading our privacy if they also brought us presents?
Imagine the future. With thousands of drones delivering everything from nudie magazines to flaming bags of dog shit, the skies would be filled with a parade of products zipping their way to homes across the country. Drones would be seen hovering awkwardly in office elevators, fleeing from horny birds and recharging their batteries at a Flying J. No longer would people have to wait weeks for a product to fill an emotional void in their life. Why, within the hour, you could have a drone bringing that miniature Zen garden you ordered right into your living room! It would be just like that creepy robot spider scene in “Minority Report.”
While having books and trampolines and statues of Jesus delivered by drones is sure to eliminate human error, the human element would still be a factor with so many people trying to steal your package from the drone. I can foresee an entire city of troublemakers holding those long pool skimmers to catch the drone and take its stuff (“What happened to the delivery?” “Drone mugged”).
The more aggressive thieves might even shoot at them, and though all drones would probably have built-in evasive maneuvers and defensive flares, they’d be no match for semi-automatic rifles. Sadly, these drones would then be enslaved and forced to do inhumane things like steal a neighbor’s newspaper and carry beers from the refrigerator to the living room.
That begs the question: should the drones be armed? If a drone finds itself cornered by a gang of no-goodniks in a back alley, how far do you want it to go to protect the Jonathan Franzen book you ordered? Should the drones have Tasers? Or long-hanging chainsaws for truly sticky situations? And what happens when an evil genius reprograms the drones to attack the city? Will a half-man, half-drone prophesied by the oracle save us in time? These are important issues.
Consider as well that pizza delivery will certainly be a major factor in the success or failure of drones delivering things, as pizza makes up a quarter of items people have delivered to their house (I’m guessing), followed by bottles of milk, cigarettes and Komodo dragons. Can a drone deliver a pizza? Absolutely! It would simply hover outside the oven waiting for the pizza to finish, slice it with a laser, airlift the pizza to the predetermined GPS location, and do a little flip at the door to get a tip. The drone may even get invited in and wind up having sex with the Blu-ray player. You’ve seen pornography.
Make no mistake my friends (or do), drones are on the way. If you ultimately find a drone hovering outside your window, it’s important to first assess why it’s there before reacting with hostility. The drone may be delivering a product, spying for the government, taking you back to jail or filming for the local pervert. Sure, three out of four of those things are bad, but three-quarters of everything is bad. You expect better odds from a drone? That’s totally unfair.
On twitter @chasongordon