We’ve heard of pre-crime in the past but pre-deliveries are a slightly different beast. They have the same shape as the police-work found in Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report but they’re distinct in some ways. Since nobody will wind up behind bars for sending you a package you might want, Amazon has secured a patent on what is essentially a pre-decision delivery of goods to users.
The patent is for a system of “Anticipatory Package Shipping” and it will see the company doing some interesting things with packages based on the behaviour of its users. One example would be tracking a user’s behaviour on Amazon and gauging their interest in a certain product, shipping the product to a closer geographic location in anticipation of an order being placed, possibly even sending it to the user’s address without an order being placed as a way to “build goodwill.”
Whether the now-patented concept is practical or not (spoiler: at the moment, it’s not) doesn’t really matter, the idea that simply looking at an item on Amazon for long enough before making your choice could lead to it being delivered sooner is an interesting one.
Just when, or if, Amazon will make use of this patent isn’t clear at all. Our guess is that it’ll take some time before Amazon is attempting to read user minds to the extent of having a delivery on its way hours before you place your order.
Source: The Verge