It’s Christmas Eve. You’ve procrastinated a little too long on a gift for your significant other, and you’d rather do the Walk of Atonement (shame, shame, shame) from “Game of Thrones” than go near a shopping mall.
No problem! You hop online, click a button and a drone flies to your doorstep within minutes carrying that shiny new toaster you know she’s been dying for. It’s fast, efficient and takes little, if any, work by human hands.
That’s Amazon’s dream, and it could arrive very soon. It recently conducted a successful drone delivery test, and it isn’t the only company envisioning a robot-fueled future. Uber has made no secret of its plans to replace its current fleet with self-driving cars, which Tesla and other automakers are working feverishly to bring to market. The Trump administration likely will let the tech companies figure out their own rules of the sky and road, in keeping with its policy of putting foxes in charge of henhouses.
So the robots are coming, but does anyone know if we’re ready for them? In our latest poll at HeraldNet.com, we asked how you feel about a future full of drones. Only 28 percent said it’s a good thing. The other 72 percent voted against, saying “it’ll crowd the sky and take people’s jobs.”
It does make you wonder what we’re all going to do for a living once the robots take over. Automation has transformed the world over the past century, and the workforce has always adapted, but this will be a major disruption in a short period of time.
And then there’s the big danger: What if the drones decide they don’t need us anymore? Physicist Stephen Hawking has warned that if artificial intelligence develops beyond our control, it will spell doom for humanity.
On the other hand, I could have tube socks delivered to my house in less than an hour. There are always going to be tradeoffs.
From one dystopian dread to another, this time featuring the College Football Playoff™!