Amazon's Dystopia As A Service
June 24, 2017 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Amazon's vision for the future are these gigantic drone beehives that look like they are trapping humans in buildings like in a old school platformer. For a 10x horror multiplier, check out the plant-like fronds on the drones.
posted by Foci for Analysis (47 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:52 PM on June 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


These include adding “trailing edge fringes,” “leading edge serrations,” “sound dampening treatments,” and “blade indentations for sound control”

These sound like upgrades to weapons in a video game.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:59 PM on June 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


Why does the phrase "plant-like fronds" make my skin crawl? Is it the context, or something more basic?

Is this a Triffid based technology?
posted by hippybear at 2:07 PM on June 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


Who’s going to want to live near a drone delivery tower if it makes so much noise?

I want to live in a high rise with a balcony pointing right at one of these babies. Every evening I'll sit and watch the great swarms come home, fronds glinting in fading sunlight, a murmuration of a million tireless servants, and then order some organic pistachios or whatever
posted by theodolite at 2:12 PM on June 24, 2017 [70 favorites]


Why does the phrase "plant-like fronds" make my skin crawl?
With fronds like these...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:17 PM on June 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


Well, I for one look forward to a world where the sky is full of free stuff.
posted by pipeski at 2:20 PM on June 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


Time to invest in a powerful BB gun. I'll never want for food or cheap, disposable consumer garbage again!
posted by saulgoodman at 2:25 PM on June 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Will the drones move human fulfillment center staff to a medical bay when they pass out from overly high temperatures?
posted by Samizdata at 2:27 PM on June 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Will the drones move human fulfillment center staff to a medical bay when they pass out from overly high temperatures?

No, that's the beautiful part - their decaying bodies collect in the base of the hive and serve as a rich humus for the plant-like fronds!
posted by ryanshepard at 2:54 PM on June 24, 2017 [48 favorites]


I hope they don't cross these peaceful delivery drones with their more aggressive weaponized cousins.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:02 PM on June 24, 2017 [14 favorites]


The actual situation of The Terminator scenario isn't that Skynet became sentient, it's that Amazon didn't reach its sales goals for a quarter in a way that pleased its shareholders.
posted by hippybear at 3:05 PM on June 24, 2017 [17 favorites]


What staff?
posted by amtho at 3:16 PM on June 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


plant-like fronds

Feathers?

(I can't be the only one to see that, right?)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:28 PM on June 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


No thank
posted by lineofsight at 3:58 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Maybe it was prompting from the FPP, but when I saw the inner layout I thought, huh, Wrecking Crew.
posted by JHarris at 4:24 PM on June 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Wasn't this an episode of Doctor Who?
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:38 PM on June 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


A drone in the air can't kill me, an overly-tired underpaid driver in a van can. Bring these on.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:41 PM on June 24, 2017


Why not just have a smaller building with a few conveyor belts for these drones to take off and land on? One for packages going outbound, one for returns, and one for drones that need to be recharged, serviced, etc.

Would be a hell of a lot cheaper, and much easier to maintain.
posted by MikeWarot at 4:43 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I say this about driverless cars, too: These things will be stolen, attacked and vandalized if—IF—— it ever gets sorta-kinda implemented.

I can see city to city transport, along highways of sorts, but there's never gonna be a zigzag of drones delivering expensive goods from house to house.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 4:44 PM on June 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Maybe it was prompting from the FPP, but when I saw the inner layout I thought, huh, Wrecking Crew.


I was thinking more Impossible Mission.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:55 PM on June 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


A drone in the air can't kill me . . .

Yet.
posted by jeremias at 5:05 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I dunno. It might be worth being an Amazon drone tech, just for the opportunity to say "Fly, my monkeys, fly!" everyday.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:14 PM on June 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


Time to invest in a powerful BB gun.

2037. CAPTCHA's grow more strict every year. Slip up, and you're locked out of your Amazon account, your apartment, your job, your life. Renegades hide out in abandoned big-box stores and survive on what they can shoot down. Arecibo Noether, daughter of elite Prime Members, never thought she would end up as one of them but
posted by officer_fred at 5:32 PM on June 24, 2017 [52 favorites]


I was thinking more Impossible Mission.

I just flashed back so hard I think I got whiplash. That's the first game I ever beat.
posted by MrVisible at 5:41 PM on June 24, 2017


I was thinking more Impossible Mission.

I just flashed back so hard I think I got whiplash. That's the first game I ever beat.


So, what you are saying is grounds for a false advertising suit then?
posted by Samizdata at 5:49 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


A drone in the air can't kill me

it can fall on you

it can run into you

it can eject its payload onto you

it can probably catch fire

it has whirling blades

it is orders of magnitude more numerous than delivery vans...
posted by indubitable at 5:50 PM on June 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


I want to live in a high rise with a balcony pointing right at one of these babies. Every evening I'll sit and watch the great swarms come home, fronds glinting in fading sunlight, a murmuration of a million tireless servants, and then order some organic pistachios or whatever

Ttheir decaying bodies collect in the base of the hive and serve as a rich humus for the plant-like fronds!


2037. CAPTCHA's grow more strict every year. Slip up, and you're locked out of your Amazon account, your apartment, your job, your life. Renegades hide out in abandoned big-box stores and survive on what they can shoot down. Arecibo Noether, daughter of elite Prime Members, never thought she would end up as one of them but

If you all could keep up these Ben Katchor imagination level posts, I'd love to keep reading them.
posted by cashman at 5:54 PM on June 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


None of those things are as dangerous as cars and vans on the road right now, so I'm still stoked.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:55 PM on June 24, 2017


Space Coyote, what is the data on that? They're still new enough that I wouldn't expect to hear about a _lot_ of accidents yet, and they haven't had safety features added as a result of decades' worth of testing-by-use.

So, our _perception_ of their safety is going to be very skewed simply because of the vast differences in our exposure to memorable incidents.
posted by amtho at 7:28 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Why not dirigibles as floating warehouses?

They could land and take on millions of pounds of versatile solutions for modern living, then drift around the airspace with solar panels on their topsides and drone arrays like Battlestar Galactica Viper squadrons ready to launch at a moment's notice.

Wal-Mart could counter with their own ships and drones, so they'd have to have combat air patrols which would turn into an insect specialization model with workers and soldiers and queens creating more drones with particulates harvested from the upper atmosphere using breather factories powered by all of that CO2 floating around up there...

At what point does it transition from "speculative patent" to pure science fiction?Does hard speculative science fiction even exist any longer?
posted by lon_star at 7:32 PM on June 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Why don't we just back the factories up right into the landfill and cut out all this middleman bullshit?
posted by sexyrobot at 7:34 PM on June 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


With fronds like these...

Who needs anemones hooaaAAAAAHHHHH
posted by Sebmojo at 7:54 PM on June 24, 2017 [24 favorites]


Oh no you did not!

Flagged for being too cortex.
posted by hippybear at 7:55 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Why not dirigibles as floating warehouses?

the main advantage of lighter-than-air craft is their ability to remain stationary for extended periods of time at a very low energy cost, which would be useful for a warehouse. However, Amazon already employs a technology that exceeds even a dirigible's ability to remain on station: buildings.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:36 PM on June 24, 2017 [14 favorites]


Yes...but...air buildings.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:38 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Arecibo Noether, daughter of elite Prime Members, never thought she would end up as one of them but

shutupandtakemymoney.gif

But seriously, though, of the many problems with Amazon, a fairly logical solution to managing drone delivery isn't one of them. These designs look like nothing more than random cocktail napkin sketches from one of Buckminster Fuller's parties, and The Verge's assumption that they're signifiers of the Grim Matrix Future is unintentionally funny. "How are those carriages moving? They have no horses! And those giant metal birds in the sky--do they mean to eat us?"
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:17 PM on June 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


These are gonna be so full of birds within the first two weeks of operation it's not even funny. The design looks a bit like a beehive, but exactly like a giant pigeon house. They'll be guano silos in no time.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:17 PM on June 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Another market that Amazon corners: high-phosphate fertilizer.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:21 PM on June 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


> octobersurprise: ...the opportunity to say "Fly, my monkeys, fly!"

From the top of the Hive, Jeff B. gives the order: "Flying Monkeys attack!"
posted by cenoxo at 11:18 PM on June 24, 2017


Was browsing Amazon, looking for a mop, and noticed a new home cleaning service. How was this not a huge story in the media? The idea that Amazon is now in the business of being the go between in a service economy just blew me away. Why stop at home cleaning? The answer is that they won't. If they offer a home cleaning service, there's no reason why they won't expand into yard care, pool care, weddings, tailoring, babysitting, you name it.
posted by Beholder at 1:50 AM on June 25, 2017 [3 favorites]


Why don't we just back the factories up right into the landfill and cut out all this middleman bullshit?

The best analysis of the Whole Foods/Amazon deal was the medium article that said this was being to do make sure Amazon had a customer for a food fulfillment operation.

As that becomes a reality and Amazon is like Sysco, US Foods, Reinhart then the 1/6 of economic activity food represents will be some form of shit in the end that Amazon feeds.

When they complete the Phosphorus capture cycle and sell you drone-scavaged night-soil the circle of life will be complete. The drone line for this will get named after Howard Hughes.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:22 AM on June 25, 2017


Are the people drawn in the second sketch standing on ledges outside of windows?
posted by pipoquinha at 7:54 AM on June 25, 2017


I've always held that Amazon's drone delivery scheme really only makes economic sense for items with a high price to weight ratio. Like marijuana, which happens to be legal in WA where Amazon has most of its engineers.

Mark my words: These things are going to be little flying drug dealers.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:26 AM on June 25, 2017 [3 favorites]


If this gets trucks off the road, and stops trees being felled by the horizontalness of huge warehouses, then I'm all for it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:00 PM on June 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think a simpler solution would be for Amazon to build warehouses with integral condos for Prime customers. Then delivery could be by pneumatic tube. (Or maybe by Siemens mag-lev dumbwaiters.)
posted by oheso at 4:50 AM on June 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


> These are gonna be so full of birds within the first two weeks of operation it's not even funny.

Time to patent 'doors'.
posted by dmd at 2:42 PM on June 26, 2017


In other drone news: Oscar Mayer Wiener Drone Designed To Make It Rain Hot Dogs

"Oscar Mayer is adding a drone to its Wienermobile fleet, one that the company says will drop hot dogs on hungry, Earthbound customers below — one wiener at a time."
posted by cynical pinnacle at 3:21 PM on June 26, 2017


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