[PLUG-TALK] Recycling and Retail 3.0 (was "Sears Doomed")

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Mon Jun 4 14:40:57 PDT 2018

On Sun, Jun 03, 2018 at 06:20:46PM -0700, Keith Lofstrom wrote:
> I imagine there is an open source opportunity here.
> Branding for communities of freelance product evaluators
> and shipping expediters?  Amazon is bits and a fancy
> warehouse.  Must products spend time in a warehouse
> and on a store shelf, or can we arbitrage shiploads of
> random stuff while it chugs eastward over the Pacific?
> We do this with stuff like fresh produce now.  A truck
> full of lettuce drives north out of Fresno.  At Redding,
> they tell the driver whether to deliver it to Seattle or
> to Boise.  Let's make that more atomic and automated.

Thinking more about this;

I still visit local stores looking for the items I want,
before giving up and ordering from Amazon.  Amazon orders
show up fast, in hard plastic bubblewrap packages with
hard-to-remove paper labels.  Reusing or recycling these
packages is difficult, Amazon website claims of
recyclability notwithstanding.

As part of a Retail 3.0 "arbitrage in transit" system,
can we develop a QRS-coding scheme for reusable packages?

The packages have only random QRS codes, no other
identifying information.  Perhaps an RFID label instead. 
The deterministic first bits of the code specify the
lookup databases.

The packages (and codes) are checked in and out of a
distributed global database.  The codes on the packages
associate with a consumer delivery address on the way to
the endpoint, and are de-identified when returned to a
recycling/reuse center (for a small cash credit to the
consumer).  Consumers can also purchase (cleaned) packages
at the recycling center for returning goods, identified
and de-identified the same way for the return trip.

New blockbuster DVD?  The Asian manufacturer loads a mini-
container with 200 coded, deliverable packages the night
before the retail release, and puts it on a FedEx plane.
Customers order the DVD online, and each order is assigned
to a code in the box in the cargo plane.  On arrival at
PDX, the DVD delivery packages are stocked on the day's
delivery trucks.  A few extra on each truck for orders
placed while the truck is driving its route.  Pay $10
extra when ordering the DVD on the way home from work,
and the DVD is waiting for you when you get home.

Hazardous materials go in special hazmat packages with 
human readable warnings.  Capture those QRS codes with
your "smart"phone, and the appropriate emergency team
is notified, and dispatched if needed.  That might make
an interesting hobby, with thousands of citizens keeping
close track of where all the hazmat packages (and trucks,
and train cars) are located in real time;  in an
emergency, such situational awareness could save lives.

This turns the "recycling problem" into an information
science problem.  Randomly associated codes with "need
to know" decryption will make theft much more difficult.


Full disclosure:  I have a dog in this fight.  One of my
inventions is a chip circuit that generates a random but
repeatable 256 bit code, built on top of random atomic
variations in the manufacture of integrated circuits. 

Some call this "PUF" for "physically unclonable functions",
which is nonsense because the ID codes can be extracted and
simulated in other hardware.  However, when paired with
other identifiers, the permanent random codes can provide
extremely cheap and fairly secure identification for
physical objects to those with a "need to know"; a need to
be defined by public law, not monopoly advantage (IMHO).
Just don't bet more than $1000 or so on "unclonability",
much less when the Mafia builds their own chip fab.

The ID invention goes off-patent next year; time to start
designing derivative products.  $$$ consulting available
to non-assholes.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com

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