It's a bird! It's a plane! It's your pink slip!

Like the machines and assembly lines before them, drones are poised to drive many of us to the unemployment line

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Aerial admins

Zuck's plans to take the Internet to the clouds is just the beginning. All kinds of companies will move networks to the heavens, and that means a new set of IT skills. Can WhatsUp Gold handle a drone-net? Will NetScout have to invent a flying nGenius? Rest assured that some bean counter will do the math and realize that a cheapo drone armada up in the frosty skies is less expensive than paying for data center cooling costs.

It also means a whole new cloud outage excuse for Google, Amazon, and Microsoft: "Our drone servers crashed ... into Bob Fergenschmeir's garage." And what will Hurricane Katrina VI do to Comcast's cloud TV? Or when DeepMind rebrands itself "SkyNet" and tasks Google's drone army to implement you-know-what?

According to "60 Minutes," the FAA is quickly approving pro-drone legislation like vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, which is no way enough to control the inevitable proliferation of fun-size flying machines. Imagine if Bob wants an Amazon DVD, a pizza, and a drone-order bride at the same time. Unless he's living in a palatial estate, odds are high those little buggers will hit each other and claim collateral damage on the way down, especially if they're remotely piloted by kids trying to prove whose drone is fastest.

Down on the ground

What about cops? Who's going to beat you senseless with a baton for a traffic violation if flying drones can Tase you, grab you with rubber pincers, and fly your unconscious butt to prison? It may be great for the stun gun industry, but it'll have a serious impact on overenthusiastic law enforcement and baton manufacturers.

I wonder if they can replace me. Can a drone be snarky? I can certainly snark on them, like when drone makers insist calling them Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs), Unmanned Airborne Systems (also UASs) or Unmanned Matrix Zappers (UAZs) so that we don't associate them with military technology. Sorry, drone makers, you can call dog poop "popcorn," but you still can't cover that stench.

That digression aside, maybe drones can turn photojournalism into an autosnark medium and put me out of what little business I have left. Hey, InfoWorld, forget about my increased travel budget. I'll make do. Just don't go looking for reporter-drones.

This article, "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's your pink slip!," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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