Amazon just announced a project that aims to provide customers with drone delivery within 30 minutes of ordering on the website. Ten years ago, that headline could be easily mistaken for one from the Onion, but today it’s all too plausible — obvious even. Of course, Amazon would be working on robotic delivery drones. That’s just the world we live in.

Every year we see videos of Boston Dynamics’ robots getting closer and closer to full-field military deployment. Cameras get smaller, wireless signaling gets more advanced, and high school kids are building robots that we could only dream about just a few decades ago. Right now, for just $1,200, you can buy a quadcopter flying camera that beams live video back to any synchronized smartphone.

Even better: Add the VR helmet Oculus Rift to the mix.

Flying cameras are new enough and expensive enough to hold their overall numbers in check, but as the price comes down and people start seeing the amazing videos they can produce, flying cameras and drones will start showing up everywhere.

Eventually legislators will get around to writing laws governing the use of flying drones, but you can bet there will be plenty of healthy allowances carved out for corporate, military and law enforcement use. Drones will do plenty of good in the world — there are interesting applications in agriculture, and Florida is studying a plan to fight mosquitoes by using drones to seek out their watery breeding grounds (puddles and shallow pools), but they are also chock full of potential to do harm.

In the future, we’ll fight a lot more wars with drones. We’ll film our weddings with drones and get the latest "Wimpy Kid" book delivered by them. Drones will deliver our pizzas and track our movements through a city. They’ll help us fertilize our crops more efficiently and capture people trying to sneak across the border. Plus the thousand other reasons that we’ll think up along the way, good and bad.

As our current Internet evolves into the Internet of Things and advances are made in robotics and artificial intelligence (Google is close on the driverless car), drones are going to play a huge part in shaping our world. I’m still not sure if I’m more excited or terrified.

We live in interesting times.

Want to read more about drones? Check out these articles here on MNN:

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