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Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and a really dumb idea: delivery drones

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ idea to start delivering books to our doorsteps with drones was probably the dumbest idea I had heard about all week. And believe me there are a lot of stupid ideas out there.

Remember how the national media turned itself inside out counting down to Dean Kamen’s Segway announcement? Or, more recently, what’s left of the national media went gaga over Google’s pans to drive our cars, presumably so we can just play Minecraft, tweet, and text 24/7.

Kamen predicted his big idea – called “it” by the media idiots who hyped the heck out of it – was going to revolutionize the way we build cities. It would virtually change life as we know it.

So, how many Segways are circulating your neighborhood? Do your kids ride their Segways to school? Does the old lady take hers to the office? The old man take his grocery shopping, or to the day care? Cities are still pretty much the same, aren’t they?

As for Google running our cars, well, can you imagine all the cars on any freeway during rush-hour being run by a computer program devised by a bunch of pimply west coast computer geeks?

So CBS’ 60 Minutes got conned into Bezos’ big idea and showed all sorts of footage of little drones dropping a little box in someone’s front yard. Certainly they were cute, and kind of cool, but give me a break, will ya?

Is this not yet another piece of technology in search of a mission?

No one can wait a few days to have a book delivered by, say, the U.S. Postal Service? Can you imagine all the retail giants droning their goods from warehouse to our yards, with all those little drones flitting all over the place? I wonder how many computer parts, booties for the newborns, or books might wind up in trees or on roofs – like the morning newspaper. Crows would have to reprogram their territorial protection plans.

Kids would like them. Who would not take a crack at one of these drones with a slingshot, air gun, rock, baseball, or the new official Hunger Games archery gear? Fly some Amazon deliveries into Deer Trail, Colorado, and watch the buckshot fly.

Then there is the weather.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” or so reads the postal creed which dates back about 2,500 years from, of all places, Persia, which for the geographically impaired, is modern day Iran.

We already have a delivery system that can reach every address six days a week. No other system can do that. And it is the USPS that has teamed with Amazon to make made its (Amazon’s) bazillions to date.

What is the end game for all this technology in search of purpose -- humans who only remain indoors, tethered to their computers or tablets or smart phones, only stepping out into their yards or onto their porches, maybe in the dead of night, to quickly retrieve their latest acquisitions from Amazon, a faceless, robotized, retail network that just churns, and churns, and churns.

Will we as humans forget what it is like to walk down to the mailbox, or a few blocks to the post office or to a store on the town square? Will Amazon’s drone patrol deliver fresh air, a mist of water, the sound of a bird?

Why even bother to fly books to customers in the first place?

If they need the book that quickly, why not simply download the eBook in seconds?

Or perhaps Bezos and Amazon are getting into some other quick-delivery venture, like merchandising Viagra.


When award-winning Denver writer Richard J. Schneider is not dodging drones, he writes mystery novels. His latest book is WATER: A Vic Bengston Investigation, a murder mystery set in Colorado.



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