Delivery by drone is here—or rather, in Switzerland. Swiss Post and Matternet—which despite the name's similarity to Matterhorn, is based in California—have set up the first autonomous drone delivery system.

I remember a discussion, back in the late 1980's, I believe, about how much the world had changed during Porter's grandmother's lifetime, from the beginnings of automobiles to the Space Shuttle, from the invention of radio to television as a major social influence.

Being not at all prescient, apparently, I remarked that there had been no such dramatic changes in our own time. Sure, there had been improvements in technology, but they were incremental, rather than major breakthroughs that changed the lives of ordinary people. The space program seemed to have sputtered; we weren't flying excursions to the moon, let alone anywhere else. We had personal computers, e-mail, a very primitive version of the Internet, and even primitive mobile phones ("car phones") ... but these were very limited, the province of nerds and hobbyists. They hardly touched the lives of ordinary people.

Little did I know that we were poised on the brink of astonishing changes. I had forgotten two important factors: (1) we were still young back then, and (2) the other technological changes we now take for granted, like cars and airplanes and television, did not have a major impact overnight. They, too, started with a very limited, if enthusiastic, user base.

Excursions to the moon, on the other hand, seem as far away as ever.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 8:19 am | Edit
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