The GPT-moment of e-commerce

The GPT-moment of e-commerce: an AI that can make any warehouse robotic

As ChatGPT is celebrating its 1st birthday, there’s no denying its widespread impact. Still, its impact is limited to the digital universe, to the world of words, code and images. To Electrons. 

The physical world that’s around us is made of Atoms. And this physical world is having its own ChatGPT moment now - with the introduction of AI for robots.  

A bit of context

It’s 2023. Robots were supposed to be everywhere by now - at home, work, the restaurant and the taxi, but their absence is especially telling in the e-commerce warehouse space. As e-commerce reached a quarter (25%) of all retail sales last year, the e-commerce fulfillment industry is gasping for automation. Yet, only a fraction (around 10%) of total warehouses have yet to deploy robotics. What can explain this stalemate? 

The ugly truth 

Every logistics company on the planet knows these 3 things:

1) the cost of labor is going up,

2) the availability of labor is going down,

3) and the advancements in warehouse robotics hardware are already a reality. 

Yet warehouse robots haven’t lived up to the hype because they are mere “muscles” in search of a “brain”. Warehouse robots are readily available in all shapes and sizes - tall or short, nimble or powerful, cheap or expensive, basic or highly sophisticated. Yet they all share a common drawback: a lack of worthy AI brains to unlock their full potential. 

From Large-Language-Models to Large-Logistics-Models

Each warehouse robot would create billions of data points throughout its “life”.

The amount of data points, connections and relations in a set warehouse are measured in the trillions. Building the AI models on top of such vast datasets will stepchange fulfillment, warehousing and e-commerce altogether. 

The “Deployment Devil” is in the details: to have a robot perform the entire variety of tasks under a roof of a fulfillment center, brute robotic force is not going to cut it. Sure, robots know how to move stuff around from point A to point B, but what happens when point B changes in real time to point B_ii, and when product C needs to be merged with product D, which is in turn held inside a freezer, to be packaged together for a single, urgent delivery?

The 5 parts of the missing robot AI brain:

  1. How to predict and prioritize tasks 
  2. Where to store every product 
  3. Which drive path to take from point A to point B 
  4. How to enhance robotic picking and manipulation capabilities
  5. How to boost human - robot productivity 

This next-generation AI and machine learning algorithms are the missing link between the complexities of fulfillment and the mesmerizing physical power of warehouse robots. 

The impact

The operational, financial and technical impact of the AI over warehouse robots changes everything. 

Once the WMS (warehouse management system) becomes powered with such AI, the entire fulfillment formula enters hyper-productivity, allowing any warehouse to benefit from deploying robots today, mitigating the labor crunch, capital scarcity and logistic complexities all at once. 

The benefits can be groundbreaking:

This is e-commerce’s GPT moment. 

AI is now changing the physical world, one fulfillment robot at a time. 

Stay tuned, as e-commerce Finally takes its next big leap forward.