lunes, 17 de octubre de 2016

MercatorNet: Home deliveries: Is anybody there?

MercatorNet: Home deliveries: Is anybody there?

Home deliveries: Is anybody there?

Home deliveries: Is anybody there?

Amazon's drone delivery plans highlight a dismal trend.
Joanna Roughton | Oct 17 2016 | comment 2 


A word to the wise. When Amazon, or another big American tech company, tell us that the future is nigh – reach for a pinch of salt.
In the last fortnight alone I have heard of plans to deliver emergency blood supplies by drone in war-torn Rwanda. And of a proposal to ensure every new home has a charging point for an electric car.
These are laudable, noble ambitions. And a world without ambition would be a poorer place. But are they on the point of happening? Or is a PR team congratulating itself somewhere for another publicity coup or two?
Amazon’s latest wheeze is typical. It addresses the growing fashion for home deliveries. There is a Klondike-style rush to secure the riches of the ‘straight to your doorstep’ boom. It’s a classic illustration of capitalism’s bias towards creative destruction. High-streets are littered with empty retail units as more customers elect to have products brought to them by a courier.
Amazon’s plan seeks to solve the biggest and most obvious pitfall with home deliveries – that the home is empty when the delivery driver calls. The company says it will offer households the chance to create a secure storage area. The door, perhaps to a lobby, utility room or garage, would be opened with an access code. That code would change after each delivery and the driver sent a text with a new code before each new drop off.
It will, claims Amazon, circumvent the most annoying aspect of home deliveries – The Card. The card that waits for our return announcing that the parcel has gone to a depot because you, the naughty customer, didn’t ensure anyone was at home when Amazon called. If the technology can be made to work, this sounds like a sensible idea.
But, in terms of the philosophy of the home, it is another example of how society increasingly accepts the home as a space empty and often devoid of human agency. The idea that there might be some benefit to a home occupied and managed by a real, living person does not feature in any nascent debate about how much a home ought to be colonised by technological housekeepers.
The debate, in fact, is non-existent.
It is taken as a given by every corporate entity, arm of government, media outlet and technologist – that the home has to be an empty shell for much of the time. How else can homeowners perform their principal societal function – of going to work and making the only contribution which seems to matter under our new dispensation – to earn a wage.
What a load of balderdash!
As this column has argued before, the ledger is only half filled in at the moment. A home – to operate optimally – has to be lived in. There. It sounds such a facile thing to say. But how else can it be run to its full potential?
This is not just about having the time to create an environment apt to nurture a spouse and relatives from more than one generation. It is not just about having the potential to care for children, clean, cook and launder without recourse to sub-contractors.
It is also about being there for unexpected visitors. Business imagines that this means them. But mainly it means neighbours. Because people know I might well be there, my home is often a place where the doorbell rings unexpectedly.
Usually it’s just a social call, but it might be more pressing. An elderly neighbour who needs help getting to hospital. A working parent who cannot take care of a sick child and asks for my assistance as an emergency child-minder.
How do we put a price on this utility? How can we weigh the benefit of the social cohesion which springs from this neighbourliness? It is not Amazon’s duty to answer that question.
But it should be something which occurs to those we elect to govern our lives.
Joanna Roughton is the editor of BeHome, the blog of the Home Renaiisance Foundation. Reproduced with permission.


There are few policy debates in which language, and even punctuation, matters more than in discussing same-sex marriage. Is it necessary to use scare quotes, as in “same-sex ‘marriage’”? And should those be called “scare quotes”, a loaded term in itself, or “inverted commas”? (For Americans, those are double quotation marks.)
Terminology embodies values, and it’s important to realise what values hide behind words. In this issue, Margaret Somerville discusses the strategic choice of the phrase “marriage equality” instead of “same-sex marriage”. It is a fascinating and important issue.  

Michael Cook 

We will help you die of boredom: Dutch govt
By Michael Cook
'Completed life' euthanasia will soon be legalised in the Netherlands
Read the full article
Trump and Clinton are after Catholics
By Sheila Liaugminas
He pledged reform. Her campaign planned revolt.
Read the full article
Why supporters of same-sex marriage call it ‘marriage equality’
By Margaret Somerville
Cloudy and ambiguous language can be ethically perilous.
Read the full article
Migration can prop up population but it can’t prop up culture
By Shannon Roberts
International migration is changing the face of the globe.
Read the full article
Home deliveries: Is anybody there?
By Joanna Roughton
Amazon's drone delivery plans highlight a dismal trend.
Read the full article
Why Bob Dylan is a Nobel choice
By Martin Fitzgerald
Of course it's literature. Of the highest order.
Read the full article
In honouring Dylan, the judges have made a category error
By Jen Webb
The greatest living poet? Not on your nelly.
Read the full article
King Harold the Great: if the English had beaten the Normans in 1066
By Charles West and Alyxandra Mattison
950 years ago today, the last successful invasion of England took place
Read the full article
Your kids and the facts of life, Part 2
By Carolyn Smith and Mary Cooney
An experienced mother offers great advice
Read the full article
Transgender identities are not always permanent
By Walt Heyer
A man who lived as a woman for years shares his traumatic experience
Read the full article
Some thoughts on marriage from young Chinese
By Marcus Roberts
An insight perhaps into why marriage is declining in China.
Read the full article
Dracula’s daughter takes on the Ottoman Empire
By Jennifer Minicus
Yet another young adult novel full of sex and violence
Read the full article

MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation 
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street, North Strathfied NSW 2137, Australia 

Designed by elleston

New Media Foundation | Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George St | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AUSTRALIA | +61 2 8005 8605 

MercatorNet: Home deliveries: Is anybody there?

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario