Amazon's world domination moves to air assault phase

Not content to rule on land, the predominant online retailer seeks to secure sky-high supremacy with delivery drones

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Up is down, in is out, and humans are robots

I find it interesting that in its promo video, Amazon has the warehouse -- a completely controlled environment that's perfect for robotic automation -- manned by humans. Meanwhile, outdoors, where we're faced with unpredictable variables and really require human awareness and reaction time, is where it wants to put robots. With wings. And five-pound paperweights that may or may not be properly attached.

My grandkids aren't just going to have to wear bicycle helmets. They're going to need headgear to walk around the neighborhood as soon as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics announces that X percent of drone deliveries get dropped on children playing in the yard. The same goes for smokers loitering outside the office. We're looking at a whole new case of workman's comp, another excuse to raise business liability insurance rates, as well as a new reason to deny medical claims. Will Obamacare cover acts of God as well as acts of Amazon?

Last, I'm worried about too much competition. Bezos will own the skies for about two minutes before other businesses launch their own flying squids. Dominos will drop that $7.99 three-topping special to pay for its drone fleet or there'll suddenly be an Amazon Pizza division. Dry cleaners will band together and form drone consortiums or Bezos will wipe them out, too. And retailers of all sizes will need to follow suit or Black Friday becomes Amazon Cha-Ching Day. Within a few months of Amazon launching its drone armada, the skies will be filled with other business bombers. Is someone working on airborne traffic lights?

But if I see an Amazon drone flying a screaming stripper-gram through the air hanging upside down suspended by her (or his) ankles, then I'm calling someone to complain. That better be on TV.

Are you shopping for your first drone-delivered purchase? Or will you be amounting a counterattack of your own? Post it below or send me your wish list:

This article, "Amazon's world domination moves to air assault phase," 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.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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