An Allusion to Moore – A Christmas Future

Christmas Drone

Originally posted December 2013 after Amazon announced plans to use small, unmanned drones for rapid delivery to customers within striking distance of distribution centers.

An Allusion to Moore – A Christmas Future

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and I could stay in the house
To do my last bit of shopping with only a mouse.
The Amazon orders were placed with One-Click.
When we’ve got Saint Bezos, who needs Saint Nick?

The kids were transfixed by screens of all sizes
Near the glimmering tree that soon would blossom with prizes.
And I with my nightcap and Ma with her wine
Were chatting with friends and family online.

When out in the village, I heard a faint humming
My heart skipped a beat ‘cause I knew what was coming.
I logged out of Facebook and ran to the door
Like that guy in that poem by Clement Clarke Moore.

A soft rustle of pines, like a whispering crier
Drew my hopeful gaze upward in search of the flier.
Oh, how the moonlight ‘cross rooftops it shone
So I could see clearly, ‘twas an Amazon drone.

It hovered about fourteen feet off the ground
With eight tiny propellors just whirring around.
And I have to admit that I laughed like a child
To see it settle down gently so meek and so mild.

With an invisible driver of the software variety
I soon was relieved of my drone-based anxiety.
It just blinked and beeped like a jolly wee bot,
So, I approached without fear to see what it brought.

What pieces?! What bits? What gadgets? What toys?!
What tchotchkes?! What baubles? What things that make noise?
And like a an egg-laying falcon, it set a box on the lawn.
Then rose back to the treetops leaving me with its spawn.

Then I waved like a fool and wished it good cheer.
“Happy Christmas!,” I shouted, “And a Happy New Year!”
Needless to say, the drone never replied
So I picked up my package and brought it inside.

And beneath that familiar, oversized, bubbly wrap
Was not what I wanted — but some other crap!
Clearly, the folly of some daft, human sorter
Caused that innocent drone to bring the wrong order!

It appears that not even the best of these digital tools
Can completely save Christmas from the bungling of fools.
After all, what’s the point of so much technology
If we can’t sate each desire and transcend our biology?

So, I went back to the Web to untangle this mess
And demand an exchange in one hour or less!
It took just a few taps on my tablet to clear it,
And soon I was back in the right holiday spirit.

Then, in that moment, I felt my mind pause,
On the faintest memory of an old man named Claus.
So, I poured a fresh whiskey, threw back the shot,
Scoffed at myself and banished the thought.

We tucked in the children and bade them be good
Lest the Internet fail to do what it should.
Why cling to legends spun out of dubious zeal
When silicon wizards can fly reindeer for real?

And as I gazed out the window through crisp starlit skies
I felt grateful to know there are some magical guys
Who tinker in workshops in Northern C-A
To make our wishes come true on each bright new day.

Happy Christmas!

Based on “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore (1822)
“Up on the Housetop”  written by Benjamin Hanby (1864) and performed by Sandy Davis


© 2014, David Newhoff. All rights reserved.

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  • Clearly, the folly of some daft, human sorter
    Caused that innocent drone to bring the wrong order!

    Funny stuff though. 🙂

  • Maybe mildly relevant, but the technological singularity idea is getting some Hollywood treatment (ie. the topic is going to be the focus of a high budget movie in 2014). Teaser trailers:

    It might not be a typical anti-AI horror film, for once. 🙂

    • I just heard about “Transcendence.” It’s got a great cast and some interesting folks making it. We’ll see.

      • I tend to really like movies that show AI in a sympathetic light (eg: “WALL-E”, “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence”), but they are few and far in-between.

        Some plot leaks I’ve seen imply that it won’t be an typical anti-AI film. There will be anti-AI people (who will commit terrorist acts) in it, but they won’t be made that sympathetic. It might be AI neutral or even AI positive.

        It’s also the first movie I know of that specifically discusses the the idea of a technological singularity as a thing. Obviously movies like those in Terminator series also feature a technological singularity of sorts but it isn’t explicitly mentioned as an actual scientific hypothesis. Because of this, the fact that it’s a real thing that is discussed by scientists as a plausible [near-]future event, this is not well known outside of CS circles. If this movie makes the technological singularity mainstream, that might be really cool.

        Basically, I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

  • Love it, David!

    How bizarre that Bezos — before the bot flew off –
    Didn’t chide, “Check it twice, this one’s for Newhoff!”

  • Just brilliant. Thank you.

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