Amazon currently sells 120 million products. They want however to increase this to one billion. One billion…. Are there really one billion different items in existence? Are there? I know there were an unconscionable quantity of Friends episodes bilged out but this is ridiculous. In order to cope logistically with this hike, and to reduce shipping costs, Amazon has applied to the Civil Aviation Authority for permission to start using delivery drones, or ‘‘Octocopters’’, as Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of the online giant has since described them.
Let’s be clear about this. We are talking about the second largest retailer in the world, dispatching millions upon millions of products, in slow moving drones, and at low altitude, over a starving and austerity addled populous. What do we think might happen? Let’s just say that I predict a spike in the number of residences applying for shotgun licences to combat unprecedented ‘‘rabbit infestations’’.
Even if you like the idea of this new service, what happens if your product arrives and you are not in? Will you be greeted on your return home by a printed note on your door mat: ‘‘Dear Mr. Kenworthy, we received no response from you to our Facebook alerts, or to shining a laser through your windows. We have therefore dropped your haemorrhoid cream into your next door neighbour’s coal bunker. With Kind regards, the Amazon Team’’. And if you live in a block of flats? Will you receive a text message the day before? ‘‘Dear Mrs. Jones. We will be delivering your sunglasses tomorrow. Please understand that our Octocopters do not have functioning hands and can sometimes struggle with interior doors. Kindly be on the roof between the hours of 08:30 and 17:00. Many thanks, Amazon services’’
And as if enough people don’t hate Amazon as it is. I’m really not sure that one billion items whizzing about in the immediate airspace is going to win people over. On the contrary. We will soon see aggrieved news agents, books shop owners, authors, musicians, corner shop proprietors, redundant post office masters and shopkeepers banding together into great yokel militias, that blast these scabby electric mosquitoes out of the heavens with whatever rudely fashioned munitions they can contrive.
And what, pray, might the seagulls make of all this? A species that is but a hairs breadth from Total War with us as it is. How might they greet these undiscerning imposters zipping around at hatching season? It will be a literal shit-fest.
And when these contraptions fall into the wrong hands? Should we, along with the dog food and hair straighteners and car parts and dildos buzzing about above us, expect petrol bombs and yellow cake and anthrax spores to really give us something to think about? And how might the authorities decide what is a Super-Soaker 2000 approaching the Houses of Parliament and what is a sarin aerosol? How might they adjudge what is a TOWIE box set over Leicester Square and what is a dirty bomb? – Difficult enough to establish at the best of times.
And how, might you ask, will Amazon counteract this threat? In the only way that they can. They will send up larger drones to monitor the smaller drones. They will have to. They will send up CCTV drones, with anti-personnel devices, to limit and deter the destruction and theft of their property.
So, in the very near future, what we have to look forward to is great swathes of the population battling computer controlled airborne machines for their very survival. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the premise of the film Terminator. What we are seeing is the conception of ‘Skynet’. This is real. And it is happening right before our eyes. We are sleeping-walking into a dystopian nightmare.