Institute for the Future forecasted Amazon's drone delivery in 2012


At the nonprofit Institute for the Future thinktank where I'm a researcher, we always say, "Never believe anyone who says they can predict the future, especially if they're from California." We don't make point predictions but rather describe future forces we think will have big impacts on the way we live. Sometimes though, IFTF just nails it. The image above is an "Artifact from the Future" that my colleagues Jason Tester and Nic Weidinger created during the fall of 2012, more than a year before Jeff Bezos announced Amazon's drone delivery plans. We use these physical mock-ups and prototypes of imaginary products, objects, and services to make our forecasts more tangible. The above artifact was part of our Future of Coordination research you can check out here. Here's the artifact description:

What if there was a database of every object in the world, and you could rent anything from anybody at any time? A full fledged Internet of Things, coupled with Zamazon’s drone delivery service is the perfect match. When you buy something online, Zamazon shows you the demand for this object in your local area, going rates for daily rental, and how much revenue you can expect to earn from sharing. Back in 2013 we started to see this with car sharing, but the cost of coordination was too high for smaller objects. These days, when you want to borrow a tool from your neighbor, with just the click of a button, a drone will deliver it directly to you.

Previously on BB:

Artifacts from the Future at IFTF

Jason Tester's Case for Human-Future Interaction