Like any complicated path, the road to utopia requires an atlas in order to be properly navigated. As we discussed in our previous episode, all humans use five steps to solve their needs. They are:
First, we form a contextualized understanding of our most pressing need via our five senses;
Second, we use reason to evaluate potential solutions to this need, prioritizing them first by efficiency and second by taste;
Third, our will chooses from amongst these solutions. For reoccurring needs, this choice is usually habitual;
Fourth, we act and our actions yield a discernible outcome;
Fifth and finally, if the need is successfully solved, we move on to our next most pressing problem. Conversely, if our actions yield an unsuccessful outcome, we must revert to step 1 and innovate in accordance with our updated context.
As Shakespeare famously said, “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” At heart, these five outlined steps imitate the elements of a standard story, which are exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement. To briefly elaborate:
First, the exposition reveals the protagonist’s most pressing need,
Second, the rising action reveals potential solutions the protagonist must decide between to solve their need,
Third, the story’s climax occurs when the protagonist’s will makes a solution decision,
Fourth, the falling action reveals an outcome,
And fifth, the denouement contextualizes the success or failure of that outcome.
As our goal is utopian existence, we must make each one of these five steps near perfectly efficient for each worldly problem humans face. Each one of the Industry 4.0 means required to do this already exist, but today they are immature and sit in isolation from one another. Through story telling though, each one of these means can be connected together in new and innovative ways to become the solutions we require. I, Advancing Retail, have researched and analyzed nearly every one of these means, and on this and future episodes of Reality, Retail & Revolution, I’ll be sharing these stories to inspire the creativity of innovators like you. As a starting place, we’ll tackle one way to solve the most basic of all human needs: the need for water.
Water, and it’s corresponding problem of thirst, is like every problem revealed through context and is easily predictable. To maintain homeostasis, a human being must have within their body at all times a set amount of water. This homeostasis can be thrown out of whack by numerous factors, for example, when a person is experiencing warm weather and begins to sweat. By the time a human being recognizes the ensuing dehydration they are experiencing as a problem, they are already facing an unpleasantness at odds with our revolution’s goal.
In order to predict when a human will begin experiencing thirst, a solution such as Pryme Vessel by Mark One could be used. This technology software integrates with wearables such as the Apple Watch and detects dehydration in the human user prior to their brain recognizing the problem. This solution brings near perfect efficiency to our story’s exposition.
With this need identified, our next step must be to analyze potential actions that could be taken to solve the problem. While in this scenario water would efficiently solve the human need being experienced, our revolutionary goal requires us to cater to the individual’s taste as well, and hence water is not the only solution we must consider. For example, while I may prefer to drink water when dehydrated, you might prefer gatorade in the same situation, and hence if water is the solution provided to you, you may be displeased.
In order to solve this problem of taste, we must use what is called shopper identified transaction data, more commonly known as loyalty card data. This is a digital record of every item an individual has purchased and provides businesses an individualized past preference baseline for each consumer. When combined with contextualized data such as proximity, price, solutions available, etc. it can be used to accurately predict what solution one is likely to desire. And while the number of variables that go into any decision is nearly infinite, it is not truly infinite, which means that with time almost every single contributing factor to a purchase decision can be identified and via machine learning tools catered to. Solutions such as Birdzi are devoted to this exact problem, and when implemented here brings near perfect efficiency to our story’s rising action.
Now, with both our need and solution identified, we’re prepared for this story’s climax, or in retail terms, the point of sale. Based on what solution is needed after all relevant factors have been accounted for, an eCommerce tool such as Rosie can then be utilized via an automatic electronic communication to inform and pay the retailer who can most efficiently solve the problem the specific order. This capability brings near perfect efficiency to our story’s climax.
Once the order has been processed, the falling action requires it must be fulfilled. Most eCommerce tools today are already utilizing special picking paths to aid their employees finding the solution ordered as efficiently as possible, and when this action is replaced by robots such as those provided by InVia Robotics, this processes speed and efficiency will improve exponentially. This also holds true for the order’s delivery from the store to the individual, which can already be seamlessly performed today by drones such as those offered by Starship Technologies. Combined, these solutions bring near perfect efficiency to our story’s falling action.
Once delivered, all that remains is for the user to consume the solution hand delivered to them by, in this case, a drone. Once consumed, Pryme Vessel can then analyze this story’s denouement to determine whether the solution has effectively solved the need or if another solution is required. This capability brings near perfect efficiency to our story’s denouement.
What this Industry 4.0 story demonstrates is our utopian vision come to life. More specifically, it shows:
First, we solved this human’s problem of thirst as efficiently and tastefully as possible.
Second, it required no sentiently chosen human action other than the actual consumption of the solution provided, a final act that future innovation by companies such as Obi Robotics may also render unnecessary,
Third, no human action was required by the businesses fulfilling the order, a development that should over time drastically reduce the cost of goods sold,
Fourth, this new habit for acquiring water is completely different from our current habit for doing so, showing this innovation to be revolutionary in nature;
Fifth and finally, the fact that no human action was required means that jobs that exist today will no longer exist in the future. This final point is not as worrisome as it first appears and requires further elaboration to fully comprehend. In ensuing episodes we’ll discuss this ramification of our revolution in more detail.
Every single worldly problem, such as our story’s problem of thirst, has a corresponding solution. At the meta level, these needs and solutions can be easily deduced by looking at a chart such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which includes needs such as food, water, shelter, and much more. And at the micro level, we find the worldly goods that correspond to these universally shared needs, such as Big Macs, apartment complexes, Dasani brand water, and millions more business to consumer products.
In a similar fashion, all businesses also face a common set of needs. One can see these needs first-hand by visiting my body Advancing Retail, and they range from merchandising to marketing, operations to accounting. These consumer and business needs are tied together, and as this episode’s story shows, by bringing near-perfect efficiency to the latter, we bring near-perfect efficiency to the former.
This storyline template, when replicated to encompass all human worldly needs, is the atlas humanity requires to solve their scarcity. On the next episode of Reality, Retail and Revolution, we’ll continue to tackle each one of these worldly needs heads on, moving us one step closer to our desired utopia.
(Originally published as podcast on September 7th, 2016)