The Santa Claus mythos has changed and varied over the decades, but there are many things about him that stay the same. Santa watches you to see if you’ve been naughty or nice. He spends the year making toys and gifts for all the nice boys and girls of the world, usually with the help of his elfs. Then on Christmas Eve, he loads up his sleigh and with eight magical reindeer (nine if you accept Rudolph as part of Santa Claus cannon) he travels the world in one night, dropping off presents to good little girls and boys, returning back to his home in the north pole before the sun rises Christmas morning.
We usually credit Santa’s achievements to the magic of the holiday, but what if there was another answer?
First off, Santa Claus needs a way to monitor the boys and girls of the world to determine if they’ve been good or bad. Frankly, this may be the part of Santa’s scheme that is the easiest to pull off. All Santa would really need to do is start a Facebook page. Tracking algorithms and AI make monitoring trends and behaviors not only easy, but almost automatic. Cloud and data storage is making it so that computers can learn more and more about people’s behaviors.
We already see the use of this in the world. Police across the U.S. have been using this type of software to monitor protesters. This software monitors trends in hashtags and check-ins on Facebook, which has been met with backlash amid privacy concerns. Santa, being in the North Pole, would have no legal trouble with monitoring people.
Santa also has to figure out how to make enough toys for millions of children around the world. He can stick with elf labor, or he can do what a lot of industrial companies are doing now and invest in robotics. Robotic automation is quickly replacing human (or elven) agency in production and service. From jobs like cashiers to manufacturing plants, more and more jobs are being filled with robots.
And Audi’s plant in Mexico, for example, is one of the most modern factories on the american continent, utilizing both robotic automation and 3D printing (something else Santa might want to invest in). One of the more innovative things about the factory is that most of the machines are interconnected. Machinery in the factory can be manipulated from anywhere, and because the machines are connected, changes from one will automatically make changes to others to adapt.
Santa Claus also needs to travel across the world in one night, and this is still a heavy task. And though we may still need Santa’s magic on this one, we’re making strides towards faster, more efficient means of transportation. Paradoxal is a jet that is still in it’s concept phase, but worth looking at. The Paradoxal jet could get you from New York to London in only a couple of hours, and the best part is that it accomplishes this by going to space. The jet will use a combination of rocketry and jet engine propulsion to accomplish this, and will also offer a spectacular view of the planet previously only available to astronauts.
NASA is also working on a prototype engine that can get a rocket from the earth to the moon in hours. The prototype engine propels no matter, but moves at extreme speeds. Instead, it uses light and microwaves to achieve propulsion. This is in violation of Newton’s third law of motion, where every action has to have an equal and opposite reaction, which means this may be the closest we’ve gotten to actual magic so far.
These are a few ideas for Santa to consider on his next expedition, but as his image has gone largely unchanged for the past century, something tells me that he’d prefer to stick to Christmas magic. Which is alright. He can leave these toys to us.