Published on: January 11, 2018
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Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
It was a little over four years ago that Jeff Bezos was doing an interview on “60 Minutes” - with the now-disgraced-and-fired Charlie Rose, as it happens - and opened a door to show drones that were being developed to make deliveries.
An awful lot of people - myself included - were a little skeptical. It seemed that Bezos was playing an old magician’s trick - keep people looking at one hand so you can do the really important stuff with the other hand.
But, of course, the skeptics were wrong. We pretty quickly found out that FedEx and UPS were testing drone deliveries, that a German pharmaceutical company was testing drone delivery of prescriptions, and - my favorite - that a Minnesota company tested the use of drones to deliver beer to ice fishermen.
It isn’t commonplace yet, but most the evidence suggests that the regulatory issues eventually will be resolved and drone delivery will become commonplace, especially in geographies where it makes sense.
Of course, there’s always a downside.
The Washington Post had a story this week about how drones have become a real problem for federal correctional authorities - they’re being used to smuggle contraband into the prisons.
Here’s what the Post writes:
“Justice officials do not know exactly how many drones are delivering cellphones, drugs and weapons to prisons in the United States or other countries.
“In the summer, a drone dropped a package of cellphones, cigarettes, marijuana and razor blades inside a state prison in Michigan. In November, a drone carrying drugs and cellphones to inmates in Buckeye, Ariz., crashed in a prison yard. In 2016, London prison security cameras caught a drone delivering drugs to a prisoner’s window. And two years ago, a fight broke out in an Ohio prison exercise yard after a drone dropped heroin there.”
That’s unbelievable, and I certainly don’t want to make light of it.
But … it occurs to me that what Amazon’s competitors have to start figuring out how to track down the folks who are engineering these efforts and turn their efforts into more legal pursuits.
If these folks can figure out how to get weapons, cell phones and drugs into a federal prison that has guards and guns protecting it, they’ve got to be able to figure out how to deliver products to mainstream consumers.
It is sort of like what people always say about porn - that if you want to figure out where technology is going, the porn business usually gets there first, adopting technologies like VHS tapes, DVDs and VI technology long before their less seamy counterparts.
There’s got to be a way to recruit these folks. Maybe large billboards outside correctional facilities offering jobs to drone smugglers?
I can see it now: Three Billboards Outside Leavenworth.
We just have to think outside the box.
That’s what’s on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: