Opinion: Amazon’s drones: What happens if my cat catches one?


There’s a lot of buzz Monday about — specifically, its plan to deliver packages by drone.

Amazon already has a name for the service: Prime Air. It also has a video showing how it works. Which is pretty good, considering what it doesn’t have is the, you know, actual service itself. That’s a few years off, company founder Jeff Bezos admitted in an interview Sunday on “60 Minutes” in which he unveiled the drone idea.

But hey, it’s the future. The Pony Express was pretty advanced for its day too. And I’m sure that someone then said, “But where are we going to get all those horses?”


No, George Orwell, there’s no stopping progress.

Just imagine this scenario: You’re in the bathroom. You’re out of toilet paper. What do you do? In today’s Luddite world, you have to go to the store. But in Bezos World, you just tap the iPad, go to Amazon, order a roll or two and presto: In about 30 minutes, a drone delivers the package right to your door. Why, you don’t even have to interrupt your bathroom reading!

Frankly, I don’t know how we’re living without Prime Air right now.

Sure, there are naysayers. Apparently the FAA has to devise rules for these and other drones. (Typical — government bureaucrats stifling the free market!) Also, there are security issues, as in, how do you keep someone from stealing your package (not as in how do you keep the drone from lighting up your house with a Hellfire missile -- at least, Bezos didn’t mention Hellfires in the “60 Minutes” interview).

And, admittedly, I have some questions of my own:

  • Will the drone ring the doorbell and then buzz off, leaving the package for everyone to see? Or will the drone have a human-like robot voice to announce its arrival, and wait for me?
  • Will I need to sign, and will the drone have a pen?
  • Will the drone care if I come to the door in my underwear?
  • Will the drone try to flirt with my wife?
  • Will I be liable if my cat catches the drone and drags it inside, leaving little mechanical bits all over the living room rug?
  • If I have ADHD and order many things at slightly different times, will I have a swarm of drones buzzing my house?
  • Will this be a 24-hour service? (Say, for example, a man needed a certain, ahem, medication quickly but rather late in the evening?)
  • If my neighbors are young and hip and needy and get stuff by drone all the time, and I am not, will I suffer from drone envy and need therapy — and will Obamacare cover that?
  • If a drone breaks down, crashes through my picture window and smashes into my 60-inch big-screen TV (which, of course, I bought from Amazon), who pays?
  • And, finally, if I decide I like the cool little drone more than the $5 roll of toilet paper I ordered, and I throw a blanket over the drone and hide it in my garage to give to my kid as a Christmas present, will there be Amazon police at my door in 30 minutes or less, and what will be the crime and/or punishment?

Anyway, in conclusion, let me just say that it’s an exciting time to be alive.

Just think: Halfway around the world, drones are blowing our enemies into little pieces. And here at home, a big company that knows more about you and what you like to buy than you know yourself is about to put that technology to use so that you don’t have to wait more than 30 minutes to get your new lipstick.

Somewhere, Aldous Huxley is smiling.


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