The Last Mile Problem
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Slow and steady, the box-shaped vehicle chugs along on a well-paved sidewalk, passing well-manicured suburban homes, one after the other. It’s the size of a large dog and doesn’t look like it could fit any normal-sized human, but on six rugged wheels, it looks determined to overcome any obstacles that could get in its way. At the same time, the baby blue shell and the Amazon smiley face logo slapped onto its side give it the appearance of a friendly, loyal companion—Fido reincarnated to match our increasingly tech-dependent world. While its purpose is unclear, the vehicle seems to suggest an impending utopia where human and automaton coexist in peaceful harmony. When it finally stops at a beautiful house and immediately lifts open its top to reveal a package marked with the unmistakable blue and black Amazon Prime packaging, the mission of the autonomous vehicle is also revealed. The home’s resident meanders out from the front entrance to retrieve her package, smiling at how quickly and conveniently her Amazon ordered has been delivered.