Sometimes good things come in small packages -- then fall on your head and kill you when they're dropped by an Amazon.com delivery drone.
For those who missed it, a few days ago Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon is developing a new 30-minute-or-less delivery system using flying drones, called octocopters, carrying little yellow plastic containers that hold the goodies you freshly ordered off the site. Bezos says he hopes that his new project, tentatively dubbed Amazon Prime Air, will be buzzing around your head by 2015.
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I think it's great that Jeff is trying to remove the last few reasons we have left to leave the house and interact with other humans. And I think this project will provide all kinds of benefits (aside from 30-minute delivery on garden tools). For example, he's going to save the lives of countless ducks. That's right, hunters won't have to leave their backyards and hike all the way into the woods; they can just sit on the porch, swill beer, and do some drone skeet shooting.
Amazon Prime Air ready for prime time?
They will, too, because not only is it easier, it's more fun; when you bring one down, it won't be the same old pile of feathery duck parts. Like a Cracker Jack prize, a new goodie -- maybe an Xbox game, maybe Vagisil -- will surprise you every time. You can't know until you blow one up. Drone ducks versus drunk shmucks -- that's completely irresistible reality TV. If Amazon then equips the drones with long-range self-defense Tasers and Google launches satellites to record the battles from space, we won't need the NFL or the Kardashians anymore; we're talking a whole new level of mass entertainment.
Anonymous should have a new reason to smile, too. That's a whole new arena for hacks. You won't have to stop at crashing Glenn Beck's personal website. You can chase him down the street with a hijacked Amazon drone keyed into his cellphone's GPS -- another fantastic reality TV opportunity.
Then there're kids of all ages who'll be up on the roof with the remote-controlled $400 flying copters you can buy at Brookstone (or Amazon) looking to kick off an aerial version of bumper cars for fun and profit. Let's not talk about the plans Al Qaeda will have for those things. Perfectly camouflaged personalized delivery systems keyed into a nationwide database of home addresses and credit card numbers -- what could possibly go wrong?
I have questions, though, namely how this is going to affect IT? I mean, it brings a whole new definition to the term "BYOD." Will you be expected to manage these things remotely? Is Microsoft going to put air traffic controller technology into System Center, and if so, will there be a separate cert? Or do we all have to qualify on Flight Simulator? On the other hand, joysticks will become data center infrastructure, and getting that clumsy exec his new notebook in time for the presentation is going to be cake. Plus, it opens the door for makers to build airborne fighting robots (again, must-see TV).