Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

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Gumby
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Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Gumby » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:59 pm

I'm putting this in the Variable Portfolio discussion since it pertains to a single company.

On 60 Minutes this weekend, Jeff Bezos was interviewed and he unveiled a concept called "Amazon PrimeAir"

See: Amazon PrimeAir (Video)

It's pretty incredible — both a good and bad way — when you grasp what it means for our society. In the not too distant future, you'll be able to buy a product from Amazon.com and have it appear on your doorstep thanks to a delivery drone, within 30 minutes — without any human involvement from purchase to delivery. And no more need for UPS/FedEx for most deliveries.

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I can't even imagine how many jobs this will kill — including totally eliminating the need to go to any local store. I suspect in a decade or two, the only people working at Amazon will be executives and engineers. Robots will do all the heavy lifting, inventories and deliveries.

People have often wondered how Amazon will eventually turn a profit. I imagine the robots eliminating most of the workforce is how they will get there.
Last edited by Gumby on Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Desert
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Desert » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:17 pm

These delivery drones are great conversation pieces.  I heard a suggestion recently that these little aircraft could also snap photos of the customers' houses, and recommend products based on an evaluation of the photos.  For example, an ad could pop up recommending a new shower curtain or the latest hair removal products. 

I'm thinking a 12 guage would bring one of these things down quite handily.  Think about the hours of fun these would provide in rural areas. 
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by dualstow » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:37 pm

When I first saw the headline last week, I was sure it was an Onion piece. And then I read on.

Amazon won't just be wiping out Amazon jobs, but also those of FedEx and UPS. *If* these drones ever get approved.

Terrorists will deliver bombs to certain destinations in devices painted to look like Amazon drones.
Israelis will deliver bombs to terrorists.

The first lawsuit involving a drone falling on a person will make the scalding cup of McCafe look quaint.

Some small kid will make the news for catching a ride with a drone.

Jeff Bezos is actually a robot.
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by smurff » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:43 pm

There have been a couple of drone crashes in NYC in the past few months, mostly into skyscrapers while being operated by amateurs. I remember pieces rained onto the street, just missing pedestrians on the street in one case.  So leave it to the droners; they'll destroy their own equipment and industry without members of the public resorting to the 12-gauge. ;) 
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by LC475 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:23 am

Cool!  I actually had this idea (wrote it up as a business plan for a college class in entrepreneurship and everything) some years ago.  Autonomous Flying Vehicle Delivery Service or some such, I called it.  This was before drones were really "a thing."  I was going to use mini-blimps, not quadcopters.

Seriously, guys, it only makes sense to do it this way.  As society our becomes more prosperous (assuming it does!) and thus human labor becomes more valuable, this will surely become the dominant method of delivery. 
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Benko » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:09 pm

Seriously?

They will probably perfect  teleportation about the time these are ready to go.  Seems about as likely as perfecting a drone that does not screw up, injure things or people and goes where wanted. 
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Gumby » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:50 pm

Benko wrote: Seriously?

They will probably perfect  teleportation about the time these are ready to go.  Seems about as likely as perfecting a drone that does not screw up, injure things or people and goes where wanted.
:). Well, these drones are almost ready to go — they are scheduled for launch between 2 to 7 years from now. Not aware of any working teleportation devices at the moment. I'm sure there will be problems with the drones, but let's not forget that all emerging technology — including cars, airplanes boats, cell phones, etc. — have had bugs. And many technologies continue to have bugs to this day, and probably always will. Bugs are just a part of technology — and are often parodied in science fiction novels/movies, such as for occasional moments of comic relief in Star Wars, as just one example.

These drones will likely be commonplace in a decade or two — despite their bugs and obvious shortcomings. I imagine you'll order a pizza from Domino's, and the pizza will land on your doorstep minutes after the pizza comes out of the oven. So, this isn't just an Amazon thing. It's just where the future is going.

Keep in mind that technology advances more quickly than we realize. Do you remember the AT&T "You Will" commercials, narrated by Tom Selleck?

YouTube: AT&T 1993-1994 'You Will' Ad Campaign Compilation - All 7 Ads

At the time everything in those commercials seemed like science fiction.

— Being able to borrow a book from a library that's thousands of miles away.
— Cross the country, without stopping for directions (using GPS).
— Sending a "Fax" from the beach
— Attended a meeting from a remote destination
— Bought concert tickets from a computer
— Watched the movie you wanted to when you wanted to (On Demand)
— Tucked your baby in from a video phone
— Attended a class from your home
— Renewed a driver's license from a computer
— Fixed your car with the help of a remote expert's guidance
— Checked your home's security system remotely
— Had a virtual assistant in your computer (Siri)
— Translate a message from a foreigner in real time
— Received a doctor's diagnosis via a computer video chat/uplink (not to mention remote surgeries)
— Paying a toll without slowing down

But, now, these technologies seem commonplace and quaint. They are practically considered unimaginative ideas now despite the fact that they once seemed far fetched in our lifetimes.

(AT&T was giving the impression they would "bring" those technologies to us — I guess via their communication lines and cell towers.)
Last edited by Gumby on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by dualstow » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:18 pm

I think Google's self-driving cars have a better shot at taking over package delivery in the near future. You could combine that with an Amazon Locker in the body of the truck so that recipients only open compartments meant for them.

Google, er, search for  "Google Droids" and you'll see they're working on it.

I like the drones even better, though.

Edit: not sure how "Google Droids" vanished from my post. Probably a stray keystroke.
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Benko » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:28 pm

"Well, these drones are almost ready to go — they are scheduled for launch between 2 to 7 years from now."

so about the time the Obamacare web is finally ready?  Seriously how can you type the words "almost ready to go" followed by the words 2-7 years? That probably means 10-15.

"let's not forget that all emerging technology — including cars, airplanes boats, cell phones, etc. — have had bugs."

True, but most emerging technology does not have the potential to kill people not to mention destroy itself by running into things if it does not work just right.  And then there is the issue of whether congress will allow it (see news this past week) not to mention individual communities.

"I'm thinking a 12 guage would bring one of these things down quite handily.  Think about the hours of fun these would provide in rural areas."

There you go.  The unemployed can host drone races and shoot the drone.  Love it.
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Reub » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:09 pm

I'm not sure if these drones have been approved for operation by the FAA. That could be an issue, unless the FAA could extract some significant revenue from it
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Gumby » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:38 pm

Benko wrote: "Well, these drones are almost ready to go — they are scheduled for launch between 2 to 7 years from now."

so about the time the Obamacare web is finally ready?  Seriously how can you type the words "almost ready to go" followed by the words 2-7 years? That probably means 10-15.
Ummm... Not sure if you noticed, but their drones already deliver boxes to easy destinations quite well in test flights. So, yeah.. I can type the words "almost ready to go". The redundancies and countermeasures need to be perfected. So, they are less than a decade from perfecting it. (Not sure what you think "Obamacare" has to do with it, but somehow you managed to politicize package delivery!).

What's up with all the negativity anyway?
Benko wrote:"let's not forget that all emerging technology — including cars, airplanes boats, cell phones, etc. — have had bugs."

True, but most emerging technology does not have the potential to kill people not to mention destroy itself by running into things if it does not work just right.  And then there is the issue of whether congress will allow it (see news this past week) not to mention individual communities.
Regulations could certainly kill it. Regulations are probably the biggest hurdle. And I'm sure these things will hurt a few people. Helicopters, airplanes, automobiles and delivery trucks have all hurt plenty of civilians on the ground and yet they haven't been banned for some reason. Go figure. Nevertheless, many redundancies are already built in — such as the ability to maintain course/altitude, and perform safe landings in the event of a rotor failure or a communications failure. Obviously more redundancies need to be added and perfected.

The thing is, recreational drones already work quite well. Have you ever used one? (I'm guessing no). I've used one that was controlled by an iOS app and it works surprisingly well. The drone even knows how to safely land itself if the app fails or if it gets out of range. I get the feeling like you aren't aware of how advanced the recreational drones already are — let alone the professional ones.
Last edited by Gumby on Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amazon.com: Making their workforce disappear

Post by Xan » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:41 pm

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