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Flying Parcel Force! The end of the world - Confirmed?

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It seems that Amazon have confirmed a new form of parcel delivery. 'Prime Air', that uses unmanned aerial drones. Though sounding like science fiction, it seems Amazon wants to make this as normal a sight as planes are to people now, and are moving ahead with it for 2015.

 

 

Now, granted this summons up images of Terminator in my head, but in all seriousness, is this the beginning of the end? England and (I think) America are both suffering horribly from job losses. In my town alone, we average about one or two businesses being forced to shut down a month. It looks bad, and spreads like a disease. There are a lot of empty shop spaces in my town now.

Anyway, with the introduction of a parcel service that removes the human equation entirely, do you think this is another step in the direction of complete automation? I mean, how are people supposed to earn a living? Tens, or even hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs in the car industry when a nigh identical thing happened there, and we see it as normal now, but it was pretty messed up at the time, and ruined a lot of lives. 

How does this make you feel? Do you think it will have an impact on our society? Do you think it will be positive or negative? Do you even care? lol. I don't know, but this video got me thinking about the direction we're headed as a people. For me, I don't really want this to happen, we shouldn't rely on automation. People should have jobs and skills that they can use and make a living from, what happens if something goes wrong? I dunno, rant over. How do you guys feel about this?

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That frankly looks like something that's going to be extremely easily intercepted, and quite a nuisance if you're cloud-watching or flying kites and this stupid thing speeds through the air. And considering Amazon's popularity, there's going to be quite a number of these things polluting the skies.

 

I don't know how they can introduce this on a large scale, though. Amazon serves so many countries; this sounds really hard to coordinate. I think it's really much easier to use a normal deliveryman.

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thwapthwapthwapthwap

 

*drone can't find a suitable landing site since recipient lives in a multistoried apartment*

*does not compute*

*goes crazy from frustration, takes over world in a fit of blind rage*

 

I don't think it'll completely kill off the delivery jobs though, no... From what I know, the drones can only carry parcels weighing <5pounds? Even though they said 86% of their customers' parcels weigh less than that, I doubt a lot of people would wanna pay some crazy high shipping fee on a regular basis just to send/receive some small trinket. This drone thing feels more like an emergency/ novelty option; I don't think standard mail delivery's gonna disappear any time soon.

 

The thought of little teeny flying robots delivering mail does sound strange, though. I'm interested in seeing how their drones can hold up in the real world.  :lol: People would probably be running around with huge nets, trying to catch those drones and mount them on their walls... I know I'd do that, at least. When they eventually come to my country.

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I just noticed something that amused me in the comments, something to the effect of:

"One year later, the US government attaches guns to the drones, soon after, curfew in America"   lol

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While job losses are certainly a possibility, this is not a reason to avoid moving forward with technological innovation. As we rapidly change how our world operates through convenience so to must we change how we operate elsewhere. Such changes have a knock on effect to our society financially, socially, culturally. Whether this happens or not is up in the air I guess but the solution is never to just stop innovating.

Plus I don't know much about drones but surely the operation of these terrifying deliverybots would need a lot of management, especially if there are so many of them airborne and travelling at any time. This could potentially create jobs. Also I highly doubt they could completely stop standard delivery operations, unless they plan to blanket the skies with mail drones.

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I'm with HH at being skeptical of how practical this is.

As far as the jobs issue, it may hurt in the short term but ultimately everyone will be better off. All the people toiling away as delivery people would be more useful in other jobs. In the long term. I mean, instead of having 1000 postmen, you could potentially 1000 more doctors or something, you know? In the short term that won't work cos they can't just retrain into a new career so easily, but future generations would be better off.

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It's so gimmicky, but I'm not too concerned with the technicalities of the technology because the kinks can be worked out with time. 

 

Philosophical issues aside, I guess the mechanization of labor is the way to go for the narrative of progress. People might lose jobs, but humanity will cope.

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If it goes the way I would want, then i'd be fine with it. The monetary system is as out-dated as astrology (god only knows why we have this still) when astronomy took over, or as science obliterated alchemy. We shouldnt have to spend our lives driving for personal gain like that, we should have a society where items should be available to everyone. Wealth is just a means of the few, having the majority, while the rest struggle and squirm.

You don't want to start looking things up like the amount of food waste we have in the west, because its a slippery slope as you come to realise how easy it would be to share this excess glut of food with countries that are starving, and yet we dont, because until its rotten, it has monetary value. Our society should strive to improve itself, and we should try to take on roles to the best of our ability to assist with that. If we had no money, then automation would be excellent, even in full. Because then we could devote ourselves to the pursuit of knowledge, skill and artistry, as well as the exploration of space. But then, i'm a bit of a dreamer on this subject, and I know its not going to happen in my life time, or even several hundred years from now. As Einstein has said, our technology has long since surpassed our humanity. Maybe one day we'll catch up.  

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I'm with HH at being skeptical of how practical this is.

As far as the jobs issue, it may hurt in the short term but ultimately everyone will be better off. All the people toiling away as delivery people would be more useful in other jobs. In the long term. I mean, instead of having 1000 postmen, you could potentially 1000 more doctors or something, you know? In the short term that won't work cos they can't just retrain into a new career so easily, but future generations would be better off.

 

Iunno, the jump from postman to doctor seems like it needs a lot of other factors to work out.

 

That said, Singapore's facing a crisis of this kind. None of our citizens want to be labourers or sweepers, and we have to hire people from overseas to work in these menial jobs.

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Singapore's facing a crisis of this kind. None of our citizens want to be labourers or sweepers, and we have to hire people from overseas to work in these menial jobs.

 

That's kind of funny, in a strange sort of way. In England, we have a bit of an issue because our foreign policy is piss poor. Basically, if you want in, you get in, it doesn't matter if you can bring anything to the community. Basically we're in our own crisis, because, we get masses of people come in and then leech from the government because they can just claim benefits immediately. And what our government has found, is that people come in most commonly from like poland and india and other places, and they have large extended families with lots of children, they claim for everything and actually end up getting pretty rich, quickly. It's a bit appalling but y'know.

 

That's one side of the crisis. But the part that I was saying was funny in a strange kind of way, is that you said that nobody wants to be labourers or do menial tasks, so you have to hire people from overseas to do it. Over here, most English complain that foreigners take our jobs - but they're most commonly the menial jobs that get taken that people wouldnt want to do anyway. It's just sort of backwards, but seeing the crisis from a different angle from your own eh? Two sides of the same problem. But its weird that one country needs labourers for menial tasks, and has none. And we have an excess of them, but need none. Maybe we should just kick everyone out and send them to Singapore - would that help?  >,<

No, probably not. But uh, the government's answer is to tighten up on benefit fraud and exploitation, apparently they're starting to deport a percentage of Polish immigrants who are taking the piss with our benefit system, tightening the reins so to speak. I dont know if it'll be for better or worse, it would be nice if we had more jobs available as unemployment is horrendous over here right now, but equally, I like the mixing pot, and i'd rather we didn't start kicking out all the foreigners. That's what makes this country so great, the variety and freedom of religion, culture and everything else. It's a bit of a hard thing to balance and let's face it, the English government isn't exactly any better than any other, so I imagine we're in for more problems on the horizon.

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Iunno, the jump from postman to doctor seems like it needs a lot of other factors to work out.

 

That said, Singapore's facing a crisis of this kind. None of our citizens want to be labourers or sweepers, and we have to hire people from overseas to work in these menial jobs.

 

It was just an example of something that is obviously more helpful to humanity than delivering mail, and which cannot be done by robots anytime soon.

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Well this seems really really interesting, but there will be a few things which a drone can't do, so normal postmen will stay:

 

- Make multiple deliveries on a route, if somehow 3 neighbours were all deciding to order something, they would have to send out 3 drones, or just 1 postman.

- Make deliveries in highly populated areas (How would a drone deliver something to appartment 1805b in some NYC skyscraper, I doubt he'd just drop in the street in front of the building).

- Survive. If Texas gets this service, I expect a LOT of these things to get shot down just for the fun of it, hopefully after they make their delivery, but probably before as well.

 

So Amazon will probably just use them as an emergency, 30 minute delivery service which is way expensive.

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I'm with HH at being skeptical of how practical this is.

As far as the jobs issue, it may hurt in the short term but ultimately everyone will be better off. All the people toiling away as delivery people would be more useful in other jobs. In the long term. I mean, instead of having 1000 postmen, you could potentially 1000 more doctors or something, you know? In the short term that won't work cos they can't just retrain into a new career so easily, but future generations would be better off.

Hey whoa whoa hey hey. I think I'd like to keep my postal job, thank you very much. There's a reason i chose this job over doctors and as if we aren't struggling enough!

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Hey whoa whoa hey hey. I think I'd like to keep my postal job, thank you very much. There's a reason i chose this job over doctors and as if we aren't struggling enough!

 

My point is while it's all well and good to want a job to continue to exist, eventually it may have to go. I would like to be the guy who goes around lighting oil lantern street lights, but that job is long gone. Whenever a job does go, it will suck for those who still want it, but in a generation(s) nobody will miss it.

 

I'm not intending to say what should and should not happen. I'm just saying, if postal workers do become obsolete, it'll suck short term for them, but in the long term society isn't going to miss it.

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I would like to be the guy who goes around lighting oil lantern street lights, but that job is long gone.

 

That sounds like a sucky job to me, to be honest.

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I'd disagree with DayDay in that if you think of it this way, many social problems are also insignificant in the long term. But in the short term, unemployment is a bane to the society, and can cause riots, unhappy citizens, higher risk of suicide and broken families, etcetera. Everything can be healed with time, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't leave scars in its history. If someone's going through a bad time, it's senseless to console them by saying their grandchildren probably won't feel the loss.

 

In addition, interestingly, doctors may also be rendered obsolete in the future, once machines and robots start taking over surgery procedures, diagnose illnesses, etcetera.

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Along the way, we'll keep wondering how much of our lives do we want to automize. Wall-E, hm?

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My point is while it's all well and good to want a job to continue to exist, eventually it may have to go. I would like to be the guy who goes around lighting oil lantern street lights, but that job is long gone. Whenever a job does go, it will suck for those who still want it, but in a generation(s) nobody will miss it.

I'm not intending to say what should and should not happen. I'm just saying, if postal workers do become obsolete, it'll suck short term for them, but in the long term society isn't going to miss it.

I understand your point in that jobs like these will gradually become obsolete but my point is that it isn't fair to already treat those jobs as useless when I tell ya sonny I bust my ass while being underappreciated and already told that they won't miss me anyways.

Sorry, I'm just really personally bitter about the subject. Abloo bloooo....

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Oh well I don't mean to suggest they're already useless. I don't think these drones will be good enough anytime soon, and personally if I had the choice I'd have my packages in the hands of actual people, since I trust people more than I trust technology to work flawlessly.

And people would miss postal workers. What I mean is their children who grow up in a world without postal workers won't pay it any more thought than we pay old timey stuff from before we were born.

Edit: also sorry in general for being insensitive in my initial comment. I didn't think anyone here was a postal worker so I didn't consider the need to be more careful.

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No I understand I'm just again very bitter and defensive about the subject. My apologies for derailing the thread.

But anyways, my first reaction to this was the same as most; how would they keep these packages from being lost? From interception to misdeliveries to I'm sure would be a lot of technical malfunctions I would think there would be need for more than just around a year to ensure a successful launch and all. I'd imagine they might even have a very limited delivery coverage for a long while before they work to get into more questionable areas.

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The drones will come with hidden hacksaws that shred every impediment mercilessly, until their GPS system tells them that they're at the right place.

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