Amazon Goes To The Droids

Jeff Bezos presented this video on Charlie Rose, I believe, highlighting a future where Amazon could deliver merchandise in less than 30 minutes via drone.

It’s fanciful and not very realistic for most items my family has ordered from them. (We bought a really nice air mattress bed recently that would take a small army of drones to move.) It still feels like  a very long way off since the FAA keeps dragging its feet on drones for commercial use.

Om Malik fills in with some questions that Charlie Rose forgot to ask, including a very good one: why is Bezos, a very secretive and private man about his future business ideas, showing this now, clearly years before it is even feasible?

I have another: who will be buying stuff from Amazon? [1]

In the 1950s the general contract was that employers will pay employees enough to buy their stuff. That contract is broken now. We seem to so rarely think about the human costs of automation. Yes, it’s inevitable that this will happen. Computers will rule the world. What I never hear discussed, though, is how people will live when Amazon needs a tiny fraction of employees, compared to Walmart, which utilized a tiny fraction compared to mom-and-pop shops.

[1] Yes, I know I keep bringing this up. I’m still looking for answers.