Saturday, January 7, 2017
My friend Crow, off on his annual winter visit to his distant relatives the condors, sent me some thoughts about modernity to share with you:
It would appear new technologies are generally being sold as essential ones in the coming of either a future leisure-oriented paradise or your inevitable domination under the control of AI Algorhithmic overlords. Take your pick.
One of the more recent developments has been Amazon's patent for “An unmanned aerial vehicle delivery process that utilizes an airborne fulfillment center” (AFC). Their patent goes on to describe "an airship, or dirigible, is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft which can navigate through the air under its own power. ... An AFC may be positioned at an altitude above a metropolitan area and be designed to maintain an inventory of items that may be purchased by a user and delivered to the user by a UAV (drone) that is deployed from the AFC.” We won't go into how they plan to stock the thing (people wearing jet packs, perhaps), but I'll tell you right now we birds aren't for it at all.
This is the kind of idea that, if described to you by your precocious nine year old nephew, you'd be likely to chuckle about later and forget. I remember susan's father on ambitious yet ill considered plans remarking, 'One day that man will be doing great things.. like washing elephants'. Instead, because it's Jeff Bezos' monstrously huge and wealthy Amazon corporation, the news media is taking the idea perfectly seriously (and anything they take seriously, you must too).
What none of them seem to consider is the chaos that would be unleashed should this delivery method actually go into effect. Imagine trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature on a bright summer afternoon while hundreds of delivery drones swoop down from the sky carrying Amazon's quite literal version of 'instant gratification' to customers who just can't wait for a delivery through normal channels. The ability to have warehouses floating around in the sky also has them considering the idea of delivering “perishable items or even prepared meals.” In other words, Amazon is positioning itself to be in direct competition with Domino’s Pizza. I can almost see the hunters poised with their shotguns or bows and arrows looking to bring home the pepperoni and meatball extra large.
Amazon describes your soon-to-be-old fashioned system of retail delivery in the following way: Using a “human controlled truck, bicycle, cart, etc.” which delivers items from a “ground-based building,” and continues with “a human who hands the item to a recipient, places it on the user’s porch, or stores it in a post office box, etc.” I wonder if the drones will ask after your health or remark about the weather as real people do.
Now I'm reminded of yet another grand plan devised by the technological overlords, the widely reported, soon to be instituted, advent of fully automated driverless trucking. Considering the fact that truck driver is the number one occupation in North America I see more problems ahead. But I'll leave that topic for another time.
Meanwhile, the weather is lovely here in the Andes and you'll be pleased to hear the Remy and fruitcake you sent by dogsled arrived safely. The dogs are currently napping at the fireside while the condors are waiting in the wings for our afternoon flight.
Until next time, dear friends and susan, stay warm and keep smiling. The world may be a silly place,
but we are well so long as humour and affection remain.