Sunday, December 08, 2013

Hating On Amazon Drones?

     What?  Why?  --If I read one more joke or see one more idiotic cartoon about shooting down Amazon drones for the "free prize inside," I'm gonna start screaming.

     What is it with you people?  There's free stuff behind plate glass at the TV store, too, and in every UPS, FedEx and USPS truck.  All you have to do is pick up a brick or a rock and go smash; all you have to do is threaten the driver -- or take him out.  All you have to do is...shoot down the drone.

     Yeah?  Do that and you're a looter.  Do that and you have overstepped the bounds of civilized behavior.  Is that your drone?  I already had to wait an extra day after paying a premium for 1-day delivery and now you wanna get all butthurt over a nice, positive, civilian application of an otherwise death-dealing technology that might've put my order in my hands on time and without exposing a delivery driver to the hazards of winter weather and winter drivers.

     Yeah, go shoot down an unarmed drone.  You'll show that dirty-bad ol' Jeff Bezos.  You'll show that person waiting on an order of stuff they wanted.


      (It would seem I have to spell this out for some people.  See, you're not robbing from a wicked robot, you're stealing from the poor slob who ordered whatever it's carrying.  And as for the weenies worrying about "normalizing drones," go take a seat over there with the hand-wringers from the Brady bunch and Mr. Horowitz's CSGV: they're all weepy over "normalizing military weapons in civil society," too.  Maybe you can clan up and ban private scary black rifles and private drones together!  There are drones in your future.  It's inescapable.  Do you want all of them to by run by the police and the military, or do you want to get to know some flying-model aviation hobbyists and a 1%er shopkeeper, and possibly preserve some sliver of a loophole to drone 'em right back?)

     Is it possible that so many people have never lived in neighborhoods where packages and letters are stolen from front porches and mailboxes?  It stops being amusing real fast once it has happened to you. 

     P.S., if, after all I have written, you're still thinking, "Ha, ha, lighten up girlie.  Free stuff from shooting down drones is just a funny, funny joke," then you're reading the wrong blog and you're not going to like my "lib'ral, commie notions" about property rights being the root of all rights and the initiation of force against others being wrong and immoral. Get the hell out and don't come back.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Yeah, I don't get that attitude, either.

Plus the fact that Bezos is just blue-skying at this point.

Bob said...

My first thought on hearing about Amazon drones was Is that a collective scream I just heard from FedEx, UPS and the USPS? Has their stock started dropping yet? Then I started thinking about it more: drones delivering pizzas, auto parts, etc. Less congestion on the roads? Jobs lost for low-skill delivery drivers, but opportunities opening up for drone operators and repair people? If drones deliver pizzas, does it mean the end of pizza delivery driver robberies?

As for your main point: given the shady link between the NSA and the tech giants, what's to say that NSA doesn't require Bezos to submit delivery data from drones? So if you're a lawn care nut and have Amazon deliver you fertilizer, will the ATF come knocking thinking that you're making bombs? Will the DEA come busting down your door and kill your dogs because you had some Sudafed delivered?

It's new technology, and the ethics have to be worked out.

chem said...

Bob, couldn't TPTB already get that info from fedex, your credit card or amazon? What is unique about the drone? It drops it on your lawn or whatever, which is publicly viewable. Its not like you are gonna invite the drone in for tea

Jim said...

The shoot-to-loot gags are probably a deservedly short fad, but I think they're related to honest worries.

So the bird has an Amazon logo. Like the government spook has a press badge on his breast. Logos are easy to copy and paste on a drone fitted with, say, a thermal imaging camera -- the kinds of thing DARPA had figured out years ago.

More power to Bezos and his drones, but I think Bob correctly cites the need to work out the ethics, not to mention some practicalities -- maybe including an IFF smart phone application?

BGMiller said...

My only thought is that I'd have to plant some taller trees around the yard so the buggers wouldn't be skimming the grill on short final to the neighbors.

And I'd be a little concerned with the possibility of one having mechanical issues. I really don't want two friends to be sitting in a coffee shop chatting about me...
"You hear about Miller?"

"No. What happened?"

"Killed by a drone."

"Well, we always knew he was on some government list."

"Nah, was one of Amazon's. Dropped a thermos on him."

But those are fairly easy fixes in the grand scheme.


Dave H said...

Is a little joshing really that big a deal? Nobody's going to shoot down a drone who hasn't already thought of blasting a UPS truck. Yes, I've talked about trying to catch one, because 1) I think it'd be a fun challenge, and 2) I know I'll never do it, but it's fun to think about how anyway. Just like I think it's fun to think about how I'd get a message to someone without leaving a trail the government can follow. (The best I have so far is HF radios and NVIS antennas.)

The possibility of surveillance by these drones has occurred to me. They don't need to be counterfeited. The government has already conscripted telecom and network companies to gather data for them. They can surely think of a way to get Amazon to hand over imagery from obstacle-avoidance cameras.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I don't want domestic drone normalization. People get used to seeing commercial drones they'll have less issue with government drones. When a cop shoots you you have a man there. When a drone shoots you he is totally anonymous. And that individual was playing a fancy video game.

Just because they can doesn't mean they should.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I'm with Dave H on this - the people making those comments are just making jokes, and it's harmless. The very few who are actually thinking about it are also people who would seriously consider knocking over a UPS/FedEx/mailman for the free stuff too, so it's not like anything is different.

Roberta X said...

Proposing strongarm robbery is not a joke. Unless you're a horse's ass.

If you think it's a joke, you're on the wrong blog, and should leave.

Dave H said...

Roger, wilco, out.

Borepatch said...

I'd feel better about those drones if they flew over roads, not over my house.

Tam said...

"When a cop shoots you you have a man there. When a drone shoots you he is totally anonymous. And that individual was playing a fancy video game."

Why does this remind me of the SCAdian who turns up in every internet discussion to talk about how guns are for dishonorable weaklings and you should use a sword to make sure it's personal?

The Jack said...

There's also a strong whiff of "Let's go smash some looms!"

I wonder if smashing the little doors at the automat and grabbing the food is also considered acceptable?

Now I suppose that if the drone goes over your property you could make a trespass argument (but the issue of air craft having right of travel over private property is well tread, though there is the question of altitude).

But if the UPS guy walks across your yard to get to your neighbor you don't get to hit him with a cosh and take the box either.

Tam said...

"But if the UPS guy walks across your yard to get to your neighbor you don't get to hit him with a cosh and take the box either."


fillyjonk said...

I confess, my first reaction upon hearing the proposal of drones (with half-hour delivery times) was "YESSS. I am that much closer to never having to set foot in a grocery store ever again."

Of course, I live in BFE, so if drones actually materialize as a viable thing in some areas, it'll be 80 years before we get 'em.

By then, I'll probably have died by being trampled by someone trying to get the last pre-ice-storm carton of eggs at the wal-mart.

Anonymous said...

No Roberta, they haven't lived in an area where checks were stolen out of mailboxes, and snow shovels were stolen off their (half cleared) front porch. "Other kinds of people" live in places where that kind of thing happens.

As for drones. You can buy one ready made - complete with GPS routing and camera mount - for something between 500 and 1000 bucks. Know how to roll your own, and they can be had for less than that. (The arduino controller is less than 50 bucks, and I think the software is free - or close to it.)

If I can free up some cash in the spring, I intend to build 1 or 2 myself. I even had the idea to turn an old riding lawn-mower into a ground-based drone. Complete with 12 volt supply and charger. I don't have the patience to own a dog, you see.

Bear said...

"[T]he SCAdian who turns up in every internet discussion to talk about how guns are for dishonorable weaklings and you should use a sword to make sure it's personal?"

Heh. Haven't heard that one for a while. Possibly not since the last time some clown used it on me and I armored up and pounded his pointy head flat.

Jeffro said...

It would take a small helicopter to have the payload to handle a typical order of groceries and supplies I generally purchase. There would be landing issues in my yard, anyways, and cost effectiveness would rear it's ugly head. I'd probably opt to just go out to shop and haul it home myself because it would have to be way cheaper than delivery.

fillyjonk said...

Jeffro - you haven't had the pleasure of interacting with the denizens of my local Mart of Wal (the only grocery of any size here). I'd gladly pay a 30% premium for delivery....