Ground drones in reality

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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Machines always put people out of work.

A Pakistani woman weeps as she stands with others crowding around a Pakistan Army helicopter after it arrived to deliver food aid for the United Nations World Food Program in the flood encircled village of Tul in, Sindh Province, southern Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

The auto industry was revolutionized by technological advancements and American communities like Flint, Michigan collapsed.

Delivery drivers are next to be replaced by machinery. And not just any machinery.

The Internet changed how we consume all forms of information and entertainment. The Internet even changed how we shop.

But even if we don’t have to leave our computer chairs to buy things anymore, somebody has to move.

Purolator, FedEx, UPS and other delivery services have been sustained by our constant need to ship things around the world, regardless of technology.

But now, a man with the money to change that, said he wants to use drones to deliver packages.

Jeff Bezos, founder of and owner of the Washington Post, went on 60 Minutes and told Charlie Rose he wants to use drones — eventually.

He said these delivery robots will be able to drop items off on your lawn in less than 30 minutes, which is amazing when you consider the range of these drones is only 10 miles.

Never mind the technological challenges to having self-guided drones deliver packages, America still has to figure out some general guiding principles concerning national airspace and private drones.

Let’s remind ourselves that Bezos is very rich. When rich men talk about hypothetical concepts that sound ripped out of a science fiction novel, it dominates the news cycle.

We are years away from this possibility, and yet international media outlets were fascinated by the claim.

The scary part is that it manifested into a positive story about drones.

Drones are not our friends that deliver us pizza. Drones are unmanned aircrafts designed to spy and kill people from the sky, but because of common inaccuracy, they often strike civilians.

Just more than a week before Bezos’ statements, Pakistani officials accused a United States drone of firing missiles at an Islamic school, killing six people.

Since the Americans have been using unmanned aerial vehicles the longest, they get to make the rules about these awful flying death machines operated either by computers or by people who would otherwise be playing video games.

It would be a horrific reality if in a few years, North Americans were using drones to deliver products and people in the Middle East were still being killed by them.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Organizations: FedEx, UPS, Washington Post Islamic school

Geographic location: Flint, Michigan, United States, Middle East

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