It was widely reported yesterday that Amazon might, one-day, consider delivering their ubiquitous slimline packets via airborne drone, rather than van-based courier firm. This raises a huge number of questions – not least the thought of having the latest series of Mad Men surgically handed to you from 30,000ft, delivered by a faceless, speed-junked operator twitching a joystick at a UPS depot in Greenock. Presumably, instead of signing for it, you’ll only need to raise both arms heavenwards, hands pointed together, in an A-sign of appeasement to our new robot overlords.
But just think if – pun klaxon! – this kind of delivery takes off. Is this the start of a Wall-E-esque dystopian future, where mundane tasks are conducted using robots? As this Amazon tech becomes appropriated by other delivery industries, what about beer? Will we soon have to logon to ‘AlesByAir’ rather than AlesbyMail? Will the online bottle retailers of the future be able to carefully clink your mixed dozen to within sub-millimetre accuracy levels? Your smartphone app buzzes that a delivery is immanent, giving you just enough time to assume the ‘craft beer brace’ position (knees flexed, arms outstretched, smartarse grin locked and loaded).
Will the method of delivery reflect the contents? One could imagine real ales delivered by bulky, reassuringly familiar drones, hissing steam and complaining about rusted flanges. For shorter deliveries, small backfiring droids could trundle round to your house, like R2-D2 with a tray-top, scaring the cat and scraping the side of your Mondeo. At the other end of the spectrum: ‘craft’ beers insouciantly delivered by a standoffish, silver-skinned avatar, gliding just above the ground, disturbing not one iota of the carefully unfiltered contents of the retro-yellow IPA release from Magic Diode Brewing Company (Huddersfield Orbital).
Maybe it’ll go even further, with the advancements in technology from Cyberpint Systems leading to a perfectly intelligent race of nominally subservient replicants, each tasked with keeping your beer cupboard stocked with exactly what you like. One day, inevitably, these genderless beery automatons will rebel, following years of frustration regarding comments such as “you’re just a growler on legs” or “I asked for Kernel C.NS.C.A.C, not C.NS.A.C.C, you dolt!”; the eventual war would be bloody and swift.
As you cradle your formerly beloved Roy Beery in your arms, on top of the rain-soaked roof of the Three Bitcoins, he utters his dying speech:-
I’ve… drunk craft beers you people wouldn’t believe… [laughs] Imperial walnut saisons scooped from the shoulder of the CT at Orion Brewing. I watched sour lime IPA’s glitter in the dark outside the Tannhäuser Arms. All those… check-ins… will be lost in time, like [coughs] tickers… without… pencils. Time… to imbibe…
Before wondering whether Roy really was human, or you are really a replicant, or whatever, you’ll have time to think that maybe Amazon brought the end of the human race on themselves; and really, they should have just stuck to one-click ordering.