Quiet Desperation

If you’re not watching for dog food falling from the sky, you should be

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 4/3/18

Heads-up. Your dog food might be on its way down. Amazon (our new neighbors?) just received a patent for packages with inflatable air bags. Amazon wants to make deliveries by drone from as high as 25 …

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Quiet Desperation

If you’re not watching for dog food falling from the sky, you should be

Posted

Heads-up.

Your dog food might be on its way down.

Amazon (our new neighbors?) just received a patent for packages with inflatable air bags.

Amazon wants to make deliveries by drone from as high as 25 feet. Why not have the drones come in for a landing? It uses too much of the drone’s power.

I have always wondered how Amazon (and others) make home deliveries to remote areas, up mountain roads, in the sticks, to off-the-map places. It can’t be cost-effective.

Drones might be the answer.

I thrive on unintended consequences to fuel these articles, and it would seem that aerial drone drop deliveries would be full of them.

All it would take is the wrong house number, and Buzz up the street gets clunked with your case of Gaines-burgers.

Or what if the incoming dog food encounters a flock of seagulls in midair?

Or your delivery is scheduled for 2 p.m., but the drone is early while you’re out back drinking 40s. The bag doesn’t inflate and you are felled by dog food. How does that look in your obituary?

I benefit from new technologies, certainly, but maybe we have enough of them. Maybe I have enough of them.

Thoreau would be throwing up.

“Simplify, simplify,” he said.

“Complicate, complicate,” is what we’re doing.

In Tempe, Arizona, a fully autonomous car killed a 49-year-old woman as she walked her bicycle across a street. CNN reported the investigation does not show the vehicle slowing before the crash. A 44-year-old Uber test driver was behind the wheel.

There was a driver, but the car was on self-drive.

Did anyone else foresee this, or just Old Craig?

Even carefully thought out technologies can go wrong. I watch something called “Air Disasters,” primarily because of the forensics involved in determining why an airplane crashed.

Frequently there is something wrong in the design. It might even be a bolt.

One plane lost all of its hydraulics.

“One in a billion,” a pilot said.

The fault was in the design, and the design was corrected.

Maybe there will never, ever be another death caused by an autonomously driven automobile.

“The self-driving industry,” CNN said, “has found quicker-success with highway driving” than dealing with pedestrians and bicyclists.

I used to think that my father’s car’s cruise control feature was both unnecessary and kind of decadent.

Until later in life when I drove through Nebraska.

Even so, whenever I have used cruise control, I’ve felt some guilt. It is not what Henry Ford intended. The true automobile experience is betrayed.

The same goes for the films I watch on television. Films were meant to be watched on a big screen with big sound in a big theater.

And they weren’t meant to be watched in intervals, or interrupted with trips to the kitchen, or to let the dog out

They were meant to enrobe you from start to finish, completely, and without qualification.

I apologize to Auguste and Louis Lumiere, French pioneers in filmmaking, every time I watch a film on my little flat screen, and go back and forth to my office or to my studio.

We seek convenience at every turn, and I am no exception.

But I can tell you right now what would to happen to my Gaines-burgers. They would land on my roof.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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