Amazon Drones, Pre-Lobbying, and fly by shootings

Amazon Drones and Pre-Lobbying:

Kevin Roose, writing at NY Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer:

So far, people seem to think that Amazon’s incipient drone-delivery program, which was announced to great fanfare on 60 Minutes last night, is either a short-term publicity stunt designed to draw attention to Amazon on Cyber Monday, or a long-term publicity stunt meant to convince us of “Amazon’s indomitable spirit of innovation,” while not actually requiring Amazon to do anything yet. (Since, by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s own admission, there’s no way the FAA will allow unmanned aircraft to deliver Amazon packages before 2015.)

Instead, I think Bezos is up to something much more practical. By unveiling a huge drone program in progress, he’s sending a message to the FAA regulators and Senate committees who are currently considering how unmanned aircraft can be used commercially. And that message is: Don’t even think about getting in our way.

I think it’s all those things. Of course it’s a stunt. Of course it remains vaporware. But I really do think Bezos wants to build and deploy these things.

[Considering how every year there’s a raft of stories about how much working in an Amazon warehouse sucks and how by promising so many jobs they get huge tax breaks that are ultimately anti-competitive etc. that drones of any sort fit in the scheme. There’s also been stories about the Kiva robots that would replace all the folks complaining about how much it sucks. And Amazon continues to improve the density of the packing in their warehouses by organizing items in the warehouse for “packability”, which means items unrelated by “what” they are are in bins together because you can fit more items in the space that way. All of which points to a computerized robotic future that, of course (!?!), includes drone delivery. I’d be hugely surprised if they’re not working on systems for 3D printing of various items as well. It only makes sense form that sort of forward looking approach.

I do not claim to know what “jobs” the workforce being displaced will be able to fill, but maybe we need to fundamentally reconsider the role of the individual contributor anyway. If the work is as difficult as it seems (boring and physically demanding), maybe we’re better off not having people do it. But I’ve got nothing beyond that…]

Source: Daring Fireball

OTOH, another approach:


I don’t own any guns, but the Amazon Air drones tempt me to buy a rifle. It would be so much fun to sit on my front porch and shoot at the drones as they buzz by.

It’s cold today in Ballard but the sky is marvelously blue. Today I’d put on a ski cap and grab a bottle of good whisky and do my part to keep the sky clean.

I might argue it’s a matter of collateral damage. I don’t know how I could tell Amazon’s harmless, happy-day drones from Google’s real-time people-watchers — or those of the police or the NSA. It’s best to shoot them all down.

Or I might argue that it’s just plain fun. So much fun.

[I’d also add that I’d probably come to hate the drones pretty quickly considering my current thoughts on leaf blowers. I’d adjust my weapon of choice to a shotgun though, it would increase the odds in my favor considerably. And no, I don’t think Brent is serious, or would mix alcohol with firearms. but you’ll have to ask him. Jim commented: “Seriously, how are they going to stop people from shooting them down. It’s got to be a problem, right?” What stops people from shooting at things now? (an arguable position depending on where you live and what you see being shot).]


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