It is Saturday morning and I am doing my ‘forced’ (I am married) drawer/work table cleanup. I tear up a bunch of credit card receipts, restaurant bills, grocery bills that i had accumulated in my drawer and throw them into the dustbin. A little later my wife empties up a packet of branded soup and throws it into the dustbin as well. Same is the fate of the skin of the potatoes or for that matter all the other vegetables we consumed for lunch. Some how the dustbin was always in the conversation or the activity flow. I started having this interesting and uneasy feeling about my dustbin. It knows all about me and my family. It knows the restaurants i went to, the movies i watched, the soup i drank, the soap i used, the vegetables i ate, the milk i drank and so much more. That is so powerful, ie. if i look at it from the dustbin’s perspective.
Thankfully no one is using this information or at least not at an individual level, since every morning i see my dustbin waste being thrown into this massive waste truck, and getting merged into the dustbin waste of all my neighbours.
But as a creative person, I love thinking about the ‘what if’ scenarios and possibilities of the future. It is amply clear that even though we buy from a variety of sources, but the end of things mostly happens in the dustbin. So this is the one physical device that has the most information passed into it. So in the future connected home / internet of things scenario it has to have an important role to play. It has to have the intelligence to understand how it is being used. Imagine your dustbin having the ability to read the fine print of the FMCG packets you throw into it. It can someday tell you ‘Dude, that soup had a lot of vitamin B12, you better not eat any more today’ or ‘Mate, seems like you have gone low on citrus fruits. Havent seen you peel any for more than a week. Should i order some online for you?’ or even warning you at times — ‘Buddy, you are wasting a lot of food. Let me know and i can help you with the right quantities when buying stuff’. Agreed there are overlaps here and the intelligent refrigerator too can do many of these things. But then the dustbin is the unified end of your home funnel which has variety of entry points.
There is another possibility that the waste analytics be done not by your dustbin, but by your waste collectors. Well this is the creepier alternative and they will surely become billionaires if they crack this one. Imagine that the waste collectors collect data like a google and facebook does in the online world. Everyday the exact content of your waste get analysed and you are accordingly profiled, day after day. That would be one powerful profile. Right from your spending habits to your eating habits to your medical conditions, it will have it all. And i am sure that companies would love to pay for this context that the waste collectors have about you. Pray the day never comes.
Though on the positive side this can bring in the money needed for waste related research and in developing powerful waste segregation and disposal techniques.