Here it is, in all its glory:https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2017-future-of-automation/
Look, I'll be honest. I noticed there just wasn't that much more vermouth left in the bottle when I was making my drink, so I figured, what the hell. I just put the rest in. I might be more than a bit snookered. I'll revisit this sober (maybe) and apologize if it seems appropriate.
So, 2036, 26 year old Caitlin has received some shoes in October that were made in July and that she impulse bought for $29. Thank you, author Justin Bachman, for making the math easy. Caitlin was born in 2010, so she's a couple years younger than my daughter.
First off, author, the year 2000 (or possibly 1998, the year I retired) called and wants its baby name back. If you had picked Isabella, or Emma or Emily or, heck, even Madison or any number of other girls names, I would not have blinked, but Caitlyn? That's some retro action for sure.
Second, and really, this should be first, because this is what caused me to space out and stop reading and start looking for my computer so I could mock this article, the shoes arrived in a box. No, really! I checked.
"The year is 2036. Caitlin, 26, gets home from work to find a box at her door containing a pair of sneakers she bought online three days ago."
Author, you did not specify whether the box was from a retailer, or somewhere else in the food chain -- it could have been the manufacturer's box, it could have been an Amazon box. But you know, in 2036, I don't fucking believe that shoes are going to be delivered -- at least not impulse purchased $29 shoes -- in a box. I've been reading about cardboard. I've been thinking deeply about cardboard for some years now. And if you are surprised that anyone thinks deeply about cardboard, well, you are not a regular reader of This Blog. And Author, $29 shoes are not going to get a box in 2036. They are going to be in a bag. It will be a moderately interesting bag, with technical properties I do not now (see above, re: nearly empty and now recycled bottle of vermouth) have the capacity to imagine or describe, it will be made of laminar film, possibly oleowtf, possibly plant derived equivalents, but it will not be a box.
"Ours, a dull red, is stacked onto a ship for a 26-day trek across the Pacific to Long Beach, California, via Vancouver."
Dude, that doesn't even make sense. If you can't ship into Long Beach because of a strike or some damn thing, you go to Vancouver. You don't go to Long Beach VIA Vancouver. That's just incoherent. Who do you think your readers are, anyway?
OK, next. First, describing the factory in Dongguan as north of Hong Kong, while true, is weird. Second, at the rate we're going, there are not going to _be_ any factories left in Dongguan by 2036. They are already clearing out. 2016 was full of stories on exactly this topic.http://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/2058175/chinese-manufacturing-hollowing-out
By 2036, shoe factories that might have been in Dongguan will have moved closer to the source of demand to build their robot factories. [ETA: Or to Africa. I don't know.] I mean, if cheap labor is no longer available in China, and therefore not a factor in the decision making, why NOT move to be closer to the 26 year old weekend runners who might buy the shoes?
OK, so the shoes are off the container ship and transferred to an automated "rover" which will remove the container from the vessel and put it onto a rail car or a truck. In reality, it would go to a truck, which would platoon away from the ship when loaded, and then stuff would get transferred to rail. Period. End. Except, the shoes wouldn't have ever been on the fucking ship -- they would have been made somewhere in the US, near a rail link. And it is _still_ bothering me that Caitlin's shoes are in a box. They are not in a box. Bizarrely, while Rotterdam is mentioned, truck platooning is not mentioned. Too boring, perhaps?
The article assumes the shoes are going on a truck.
There are some weird repeated paragraphs in the robot warehouse part of the article. In any event, robot perception does not strike me as the problem. The problem IMO is robot grip feedback. We are going to be relying on humans to pick shit up and toss it with appropriate pressure / forcefulness / strength for a while yet.
Anyway. When it comes time to send that "box" of shoes to Caitlin, a "robot affixes an RFID-enabled tracking tag on the shoebox and leaves it waiting to be flown a few miles to its final destination: Caitlin's bungalow on Englewood's north side".
OK, ignoring the whole, drone is going to fly the $29 shoes to the house part (and is that her parents house or her house? She's 26, and age of house purchase has been rising). Tags are put on shit in the factory. That is _now_. Databases change where the tag goes next -- but you should not need to put a tag on those shoes _now_. That just makes no sense at all.
All in all, I am underwhelmed by this exercise in futurism. The shoes should not be in a box. The factory was not in Dongguan. The boat did _not_ go to Long Beach via Vancouver (dude! W.T.F.!!!). The RFID tag was attached as part of the manufacturing process. The overall point is valid -- nobody touched the shoes themselves until Caitlin opened the package. I don't have a problem with that.
Just every other detail.