A vision of the future

My wife, who is neither a futurist nor a technophile, dropped this vision of the future on me that I have to share. Oh, I’ve fleshed a bit, but it’s hers.

Computer shopping for groceries, where you pick your goods via interactive map of the shelves. On request you can “look” and the shelf camera for that section pans and zooms. On select a robot pulls the item(s) for your box. Depending on various factors you can hold for pickup or have it delivered. If it’s held, goods that need it are held in roll-through refrigerators and freezers by specialty robots. You arrive, punch in your code, and the containers are brought to you for pickup.

Deliveries have their own problems, none new but in this case greatly increased. (Are you going to be there when it gets to you?)

The big weaknesses she spotted in this were picking produce, fresh baked goods, and meats. The “immediate camera view” helps but it’s still not letting you do your squeeze and smell tests. Nonetheless I can see it working and working well.

The second large weakness is the combination of robots serving computer shoppers and walk-through shoppers. That’s an accident waiting to happen, I fear.

I will point out that this could be done today. All the pieces exist.


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