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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Maureen Dowd, "Mommy, the Drone’s Here!": Welcome to Our Brave New World

Are you old enough to remember when the milkman would arrive at your home and deposit glass bottles of milk in a special box outside your door and collect the empty bottles? Do you remember the cream floating at the top of the bottle (I hated it)? Although you might not remember the jokes about how a certain child resembled the milkman, you might have seen the South Park episode in which Kyle concludes that his mother is getting it on with the UPS delivery man.

Well, all of these delivery (pun intended) jokes may soon be coming to an end if Jeff Bezos has his way. In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Mommy, the Drone’s Here!" (, Maureen Dowd observes:

"The novelty of flying cars never materialized. But flying novels are right around the corner.

If you aren’t nervous enough reading about 3-D printers spitting out handguns or Google robots with Android phones, imagine the skies thick with crisscrossing tiny drones.

'I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not,' Jeff Bezos told Charlie Rose on '60 Minutes' Sunday, unveiling his octocopter drones.

The Amazon founder is optimistic that the fleet of miniature robot helicopters clutching plastic containers will be ready to follow GPS coordinates within a radius of 10 miles and zip around the country providing half-hour delivery of packages of up to 5 pounds — 86 percent of Amazon’s stock — just as soon as the F.A.A. approves."

Query: Will each of us have a special landing pad for such home deliveries?

I order books and DVDs from Amazon. (I don't have a Kindle and like to write notes in my books; the movies I see again and again, and I have never been keen on VOD.) But is there anything I need so urgently that it requires drone delivery?

Perhaps such deliveries will be fuel efficient. Perhaps such deliveries will eliminate jobs and reduce the health care and retirement costs of employers.

Welcome to our brave new world.

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