It would meet Americans’ not-so-subtle desire for instant gratification, that’s for sure. But if Amazon and other major for-profit companies begin to use drones for delivery, what could the repercussions be for our society?
In an interview broadcasted on “60 Minutes,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seemed optimistic about the evolution of the factory-to-doorstep process. The company hopes to begin the service in 2015, but must wait on approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
We The Threefold Advocate think it best that the approval never comes.
Although the company insisted that safety will always be a top priority, it can make no guarantee that the delivery units will not one day be used as a catalyst for violence or other unlawful behaviors. The customized octocopters—as they are to be called—will not be manned by a human counterpart.
Plenty of science fiction movies have already shown the American public what possible negative consequences can come from relying too heavily on robotic technology. In some cases, the devices develop consciences of their own and take over the world; in other instances, enemies take control of the robots and use them to defeat the good guys.
Whatever the scenario, it almost never ends pretty.
Without a living, thinking pilot, the bots are susceptible to hackers or others who would use the machines to cause harm. Beyond that, the octobots themselves could also come under attack. As an article from CNN pointed out, bored teenagers and others with grudges or ill wills could easily shoot down the drones, costing the company and the customer wasted time, money and resources.
The octobots would have to fly at least 300 feet to avoid being attacked, and be able to sustain that altitude for up to a 10 mile radius.
Even with the initial limit of proximity, Bezos said the company plans to expand its effort when technology and circumstance allows. He pictures a world where the skies are full or delivery drones—not only from Amazon, but from restaurants and grocery stores and pharmacies.
We picture a world where we can lie on our backs with our children and daydream about the animal-shaped clouds floating above our heads.
With such low-flying devices, the horizons could eventually be crowded with metal spiders—and swirling with the buzz of their engines.
Use of commercial drones would have both an aesthetic and physical impact on our environment.
We are just fine now. Already present forms of quick delivery are an easy-to-access option. And if that won’t do, we even have the luxury to run out to the nearest big-box retailer and grab whatever our hearts desire.
Americans need to take a step back and consider the pro and cons of commercial drone use. Yes, it may allow us to continue lounging on the couch while ordering a hostess gift for that party we are attending tonight … but is that a good thing?
We need to interact with humans, go out and about and and rely less on technology. We do not need drones.