In 1967, we never thought we'd live to see the day

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By David Davis

About 50 years ago (1967), my 17 classmates and me who sat in Mrs. Weber’s English class were dumfounded when she suggested there were no reasons why we shouldn’t live to see the turn of the century!

I think we all snickered a bit because it was so preposterous. There were so many reasons we shouldn’t live to see the 21st Century; first and foremost was the Vietnam War. Then there was the Mutual Assured Destruction, a military doctrine that emerged after the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics (USSR) achieved nuclear parity with the United States. MAD reflected the idea that one country’s population could best be protected by leaving it vulnerable so long as the other side faced comparable vulnerabilities. In short: Whoever shoots first, dies second. Then, there were accidental deaths and diseases. We didn’t have a drug problem yet in my hometown, that came later after some of the boys started coming home from the war.

But, here I am, still here 17 years after the turn of the century and much of what we have today was only fantasy in 1967 and most of the time, machines with artificial intelligence and robots went haywire and attacked people.

So, growing up with thoughts of malevolent machines, I try to keep up with technology. I get three daily newsletters about cybersecurity, defense news, and one that covers just about everything related to technology.

Of course, I don’t read them as close as I should, but there are a couple of articles that caught my attention in “New Atlas.” Both articles deal with robotic delivery systems for Domino’s Pizza and drone deliveries by Amazon.

Nick Levars wrote in a story that Domino’s will utilize rovers from Starship Technologies to deliver pizzas in select European cities to customers within a two-mile range. The six-wheeled robots have a top speed of 10 m.p.h. but it will usually travel at about 4 m.p.h. In the beginning, the delivery robots will be accompanied by a human and deliveries will be restricted to within one mile of a store. Domino’s is starting in Germany and the Netherlands. Domino’s Robotic Unit is currently testing drone deliveries in New Zealand.

According to a story by Loz Blain, Amazon filed for a patent for a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) delivery center. The tall cylindrical structures would have delivery docks on the bottom floor where merchandise would be delivered by truck, then drones would fly in and out of windows in the upper floors.

I’m not too worried about six-wheeled drones delivering pizzas, but if they drive like human pizza deliverers, then we could all be on the edge of extinction from either pizza delivery drones gone amuck or high cholesterol. But, a deputy sheriff in Tennessee once said as he gnawed on bucket of fried chicken, “Lipitor is my friend.”

What I’m really afraid of are drones flying in and out of an Amazon hive because I’m afraid of them dive bombing me.

Why? I still remember Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds.”